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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: HOU 14, JAX 27

Update: Jerry Porter went through practice all this week and is likely to get playing time this week but he is new in the offense and hasn't been able to practice for about a month because of his hamstring. He is only slated to play a limited number of snaps so I will not include him this week. Both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are listed as probable but Taylor was limited in practice because of his hand but had a full practice and is expected to play on Sunday. Jones-Drew was actually held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday to rest his groin but had a full day of practice on Friday and will also play. The respective injuries are a slight concern - particularly Jones-Drew - but the matchup is so nice that I am not changing the projections.

This game seems like a certain Houston loss but the Texans always play the Jaguars tough and actually lead this series 7-5. The Texans are still searching for their first win while team officials are on the hunt for the Reliant Stadium Warranty Card. The Jaguars finally get their first win of the year by taking down the Colts in an exciting finish in Indy last week. The Jaguars haven't solved all their problems yet, but the Texans haven't either and are no road warrior.

The Texans lost 37-17 in Jacksonville last season but won 42-28 in the meaningless week 17 game in Houston.

Houston Texans (0-2)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX - +7.5 42
5 IND - - -
6 MIA - - -
7 DET - - -
8 CIN - - -
9 @MIN - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 10,1   190,1
RB Steve Slaton 60 20  
TE Owen Daniels   40  
WR Andre Johnson   70,1  
WR Andre Davis   20  
WR Kevin Walter   40  
PK Kris Brown 2 XP    
Pregame Notes: The Texans continue to struggle through a very rough opening schedule that will not improve until week six when the team should rip off three straight wins. But the problem with potentially losing five straight is that there could be player moves -say like quarterback - that could change up a fantasy roster. Steve Slaton has already bought himself some time as the starter for now but this team will be in transition for the next three weeks if only because they drew the short straws on the schedule. The Texans home opener is not until week five and that is the Colts coming to town.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub did himself no favors when he followed up a mediocre showing in Pittsburgh with a 188 yard game in Tennessee that had no scores but three interceptions. And for the first time he was unable to connect with Andre Johnson. If Schaub can outlast this bad schedule he'll be fine but there's no guarantee that Gary Kubiak doesn't get an itchy trigger finger since the last Rosenfels was playing in 2007 he looked very good.

Schaub passed for 259 yards and no scores in Jacksonville last season. He was injured in the second meeting and Sage Rosenfels only had 128 yards and one touchdown in the home game with the Jags.

Running Backs: The rookie Steve Slaton won himself a starting job at least for now when he ran for 116 yards on 18 carries and scored once against the Titans. That was impressive but he had nine carries for 104 yards by halftime and that included a 50 yard run. Once the Titans made an adjustment, Slaton only gained 12 yards on the nine carries in the second half. But he has had the only success of a Texans runner this year and the bar is not very high thanks to Ahman Green being perpetually injured. Slaton's only other action was 13 carries for 43 yards during the blow out in Pittsburgh.

Green only gained 44 yards on 16 carries in Jacksonville but later in the home meeting Darius Walker (10-86, 1 TD) and Ron Dayne (21-88, 2 TD) both had a great game in the week 17 matchup when the Jaguars did not care.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson comes off a rare clunker of a game when he only had two catches for 29 yards in Tennessee. The reality though was that the Titans allowed the Texans no trash time yards while week one against the Steelers had Johnson with ten catches for 112 yards and virtually all of that once the game was out of hand. The Titans cornerbacks took care of Johnson and Kevin Walter and forced Schaub to use Andre Davis and the tight end Owen Daniels.

Andre Johnson was injured during the first meeting with the Jaguars but turned in six catches for 74 yards in the home meeting. Kevin Walter had his best game of the year when he caught 12 passes for 160 yards.

Tight Ends: The tougher matchups have kept Owen Daniels in the mix and he comes off a four catch, 71 yard effort over the Titans. Daniels had a nice effort in Jacksonville last year when he caught five passes for 79 yards. He later only had one catch at home but it was the lone passing score that game.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars have been tough against the run this year but have allowed four rushing scores but no 100 yard games. Slaton could have some success potentially here since the likewise speedy Chris Johnson has been the only runner with much success against them this year. Expect nothing more than moderate numbers though he could get one touchdown or Schaub could run it in again.

Schaub faces a secondary that has not allowed more than one passing score per game and no wideout more than 77 yards this year. Schaub has not been very successful against them so look for moderate passing number and just one touchdown.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 16 26 19 17 25 27
Preventing Fantasy Points    JAC 13 24 9 17 7 15

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TEN 10-17 -3 37
2 BUF 16-20 -6 38
3 @IND 23-21 +5.5 42
4 HOU - -7.5 42
5 PIT - - -
6 @DEN - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 CLE - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @DET - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 MIN - - -
13 @HOU - - -
14 @CHI - - -
15 GB - - -
16 IND - - -
17 @BAL - - -
JAX vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard     150
RB Fred Taylor 100,1    
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 50,1 40  
TE Marcedes Lewis   10  
WR Dennis Northcutt   20  
WR Matt Jones   50  
WR Reggie Williams   20  
PK Josh Scobee 3 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: Maybe it was only by two points on a last second field goal but a win is a win and taking down the Colts counts even bigger in the AFC South. What was almost inexplicable was how the Colts losing Bob Sanders apparently solved all the offensive line problems for the Jaguars so that Taylor and Jones-Drew would both have big games after two weeks of a lot of nothing. How well the team has compensated for line injuries may not be that apparent this week but facing Pittsburgh and Denver before the bye week will certainly offer a test.

Quarterback: David Garrard has been a bitter disappointment to anyone who drafted him this summer expected the same "2 TD's per week" that he was putting up in 2007. Garrard has only one score on the year and that was back in week one. He has not passed for more than 170 yards in weeks and has thrown at least one interception per week after only throwing three in all of last year. Jerry Porter may actually play this week but so far Garrard has not had time to throw or much help outside of Matt Jones.

Running Backs: As noted, the Jaguars went from being horrible at the run to suddenly exploding all over the Colts in their new home. Fred Taylor ran for 121 yards on 26 carries but only had 23 runs for 67 yards over the two previous games. Maurice Jones-Drew had 107 yards on 19 rushes and one score but only managed 30 yards on 12 carries in total coming into the game last week. The Texans are not bringing a world class rushing defense with them so it will be hard to determine just how good the Jags really have gotten so quickly.

Wide Receivers: Jerry Porter is hoped to return this week but I won't project for him until he is cleared to play. His addition cannot hurt a team that has only worsened in their ability to pass and potentially just lost Dennis Northcutt with a hip injury. For now I will assume that Northcutt can play and make adjustments on Friday as warranted. The passing on this team is anemic at best and Matt Jones started the year with six catches for 80 yards but last week was down to kist four receptions for 32 yards and that still was a team leader for the week.

For insult to injury, consider that there has only been one passing touchdown this year and it went to the fullback Greg Jones.

Tight Ends: One or two catches per week with minimal yardage and no scores. No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: No doubt that that the Jags will run a lot and be successful doing so. Expect at least one score from Jones-Drew with a realistic chance for one for Taylor as well. Both running backs make excellent starts this week and by the same token, none of the elements of the passing game hold much promise this week (or any) since the rushing attack should be more than enough to control and win this game. I like the chance for a Jaguars defensive score here.

Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 27 14 31 27 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 17 28 16 25 17 32
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