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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at MIA* DET at MIN* TEN at CLE* PIT at GB* PHI at WAS*
CAR at TB HOU at JAC* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CIN at BAL SD at NYJ SEA at ARI* DAL, STL Updates*

Prediction: Houston 10, Jacksonville 27

The Texans are now 1-0 in the last one game and are bringing their undefeated streak to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars that cannot beat the Rams when they were missing their quarterback, top two wideouts and a head coach. Probably not the way to view this game though. The Texans are the last team to finally notch a win and even that took a home game against a weak team and four field goals to secure. The Jaguars lost mainly due to two big plays going against them and there's not a chance that they will overlook any opponent since at 4-3 they are jeopardizing the chance for a wildcard this year if they lose any more "winnable" games.

As a sign of the changing times, the Texans swept the Jaguars last year, winning 20-6 and 21-0. Yes, I had to double check that.

Update: Domanick Davis has been held out of practices and is questionable to play with a sore knee. I am lowering his projections slightly but realize that he could end up missing this week and Vernand Morency would get most of the action in that case. It is likely just a precautionary move by the Texans who know they need Davis to have a chance in this game. Andre Johnson has returned to practice after his knee has improved but not fully healed. I am including him in the projections now but he's never done more than about 30 yards in a game this season anyway, so a hurt Johnson on the road against the Jaguars is even less appealing.

Houston Texans (1-6)
1 7-22 @BUF 10 Nov 13 @IND
2 7-27 PIT 11 Nov 20 KCC
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 27 STL
4 10-16 @CIN 13 Dec 4 @BAL
5 20-34 TEN 14 Dec 11 @TEN
6 10-42 @SEA 15 Dec 18 ARI
7 20-38 IND 16 Dec 24 JAC
8 19-16 CLE 17 Jan 1 @SFO
9 Nov 6 @JAC . . SAT
HOU at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 160,1
RB Domanick Davis 70 20 0
TE Matt Murphy 0 10 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 40 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 20 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 40,1 0
WR Jerome Mathis 0 20 0
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Texans outlasted the Browns last week to finally stop the madness. But that breath of fresh air is likely very short-lived with two road games to JAX and IND. The Texans still cannot pass well and are relying on little more than Domanick Davis and some good luck to win games. That won't be nearly enough this week.

Quarterback: David Carr has thrown exactly one touchdown in every game this season other than the opener in Buffalo. He also has topped out at only 174 yards and typically is battered about in most games during the unusual event that he goes back for a pass. Carr has just not made the step up this year or at least the game plan and coaching is making it impossible to do well.

Carr threw for 276 yards and one score in the first meeting against the Jaguars on Houston and later had 114 yards and one score in Jacksonville.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis remains the focal point of this offense and mid-way through the season, he hasn't missed a game yet. He also has only scored once on the ground and twice via a pass. Davis has managed to have his best three games all come at home and on the road he's only managing 60 yards per game.

Davis only ran for 56 yards in the home game against the Jaguars but later had 103 yards and one score in Jacksonville.

Wide Receivers: Just to make the Texans wideouts even harder to rely on, the lone passing score against the Browns went to rookie Jerome Mathis on his only catch in the game. He has only three catches on the season. Andre Johnson missed his third game of the year when his calf injury kept him out of practice against last week. I am not projecting for Johnson this week until information is given that he will be playing though with only a high of 38 yards in a game this year, no projection pretty much is the projection for Johnson.

Andre Johnson had 74 yards against the Jaguars in Houston last year and later had 46 yards and one score in Jacksonville. Corey Bradford scored in the first meeting with 52 yards but did not have a catch in the road game.

Tight Ends: One pass, no catches last week. Matt Murphy usually catches it though. The one pass that is.

Match Against the Defense: The Jacksonville rush defense has actually not been great this year and has allowed three runners to top the century mark in rushing but they have only given up two rushing scores on the season. Expect a moderate game here from Domanick Davis of course if only from bulk of carries but he could turn in a surprisingly good game here as have several other runners.

With the amazing consistency of David Carr, the only question is if he will be closer to 140 or 160 yards? And who will the obligatory one touchdown be thrown to? Chances are that Carr will connect for one score and that favors a wideout or even Davis on a pass since the Texans ignore their tight ends. Look for Gaffney as the most likely though Bradford could almost as easily be the one.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)
1 26-14 SEA 10 Nov 13 BAL
2 3-10 @IND 11 Nov 20 @TEN
3 26-20 @NYJ 12 Nov 27 @ARI
4 7-20 DEN 13 Dec 4 @CLE
5 23-20 CIN 14 Dec 11 IND
6 23-17 @PIT 15 Dec 18 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 @HOU
8 21-24 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 Nov 6 HOU . . SAT
JAX vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 220,1
RB Fred Taylor 110,2 10 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 80,1 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 20 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 60 0
WR Matt Jones 0 30 0
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars come off a disappointing loss in St. Louis in a game they were expected to demolish the injured Rams. But they allowed two big plays to kill them - an 85-yard touchdown pass and a blocked punt touchdown. The inability to stop the run also allowed Steven Jackson to run wild last week. The Jaguars ran well and passed okay, but the breakdown on special teams and the rushing defense spelled doom where no one expected it to reside.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich has now thrown for two scores in four games this season but never once has he had back-to-back good games. He's never gone over 252 yards and he's been locked around 32 completions per game regardless of what is happening. His schedule is lightening up though and this will be the first time he has faced back-to-back bad defenses so his upside this week is high - unless Fred Taylor takes all the action.

Leftwich only threw for 227 yards against the Texans last year and was injured in the second meeting.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor comes off his best game of the year, gaining 165 yards and one touchdown on only 22 carries against the Rams. That followed up his 132 yard game against the Bengals in week five before he was injured. Taylor was actually downgraded last week but apparently magically improved over the weekend and then slashed through the Rams last Sunday, though it was a losing effort. He should be the focus of the offense again this week against a weak Texans defense.

The Jaguars were never able to rush against the Texans last year and had a total of 31 yards as the best against them. Man, that was a long time ago.

Wide Receivers: While the world has been waiting for either Reggie Williams or Matt Jones to step up and do something after being drafted in the first round of the last two NFL drafts, evidently everyone has been looking at the wrong player. Williams entered last week with a dream match-up and a chance to score his first touchdown of the year but was conked on the head on his first pass and left the game. In his place, Ernest Wilford came in and merely reeled off 145 yards and one score on six catches. Wilford may usually only get one or two passes a game, but his three scores on the year are second only to Jimmy Smith for the Jaguars. With such an impressive showing, HC Jack Del Rio is now considering not only giving Wilford more playing time, but making him the starter this week. That would shove Williams to #3 or #4 for the game if it happens. It also gives Leftwich apparently his best chance to shine.

Jimmy Smith had 117 yards against the Texans last season when they played in Houston but had only 17 yards in the second meeting when Leftwich was injured.

Tight Ends: With four wideouts to consider, the tight ends have no role here.

Match Against the Defense: No doubt that Fred Taylor gets a ton of carries in this game and the Texans have already allowed five runners to top 100 yards this season with a total of nine rushing scores given up. Look for an excellent game from Fred this week.

Leftwich goes against a weak secondary that has never failed to give up at least one touchdown if not two. The rushing game should be enough to take the win here anyway, but expect Leftwich to throw for at least one score that should favor Jimmy Smith though it could go anywhere - the Texans do not have a stronger or weaker side really.