By Dave Thomas
There are not too many other teams in the NFL right now play worse football than the Houston Texans. The question is, are the Jacksonville Jaguars one of them?
With eight straight losses on their resume, the Houston Texans hope to get off the snide this Sunday when they host the equally bad Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. For both teams, a win would certainly improve their state of mind heading into the end of November.
When the season began, there were a number of folks that thought the Texans would make a deep run in the playoffs, perhaps even take a trip to New Jersey next February for the Super Bowl. Even after winning ugly the first two games of the season (San Diego, Tennessee), many thought that the Texans would clean up their sloppy and inconsistent play, allowing them to make a great season a reality. As you know by now, those people were more than just slightly wrong.
After eight consecutive defeats, the Texans appear to be just trying to hold the team together and from slipping into anarchy.
In last week’s 28-23 loss to a mediocre Oakland team, dissension could be seen on the sidelines when Houston’s fourth down attempt to try and pull out the victory went astray. Quarterback Matt Schaub, who ended up replacing his replacement (Case Keenum) from a few weeks earlier, got into a verbal altercation with star wide receiver Andre Johnson. Although the two never came to physical blows, frustration on both their faces could be seen from a mile away.
Are Jaguars the Answer to Victory?
With just six game remaining in the regular season, the Texans have no hopes (short of a miracle) of making the AFC playoffs.
Given that fact, the team does have a chance to play some winning ball and finish the season strong for head coach Gary Kubiak. After suffering a mini-stroke during halftime of the team’s 27-24 loss to Indianapolis a few weeks back, Kubiak’s job security could very well be in question following this season’s major disappointment.
Starting with this Sunday’s visit from Jacksonville, Houston does have a chance to get a win against a team that has only punched the winning column once this season (a victory at Tennessee).
The Jaguars come into the contest fresh-off a 27-14 home loss to Arizona. In looking at their remaining schedule, the Jaguars could score several wins (Cleveland, Buffalo, Tennessee, Houston twice) or lose out the remainder of the season.
Given that not much was expected from Jacksonville coming into the season, the Jaguars have certainly lived up to that billing. In seven of its nine losses this season, Jacksonville has given up 25 points or more.
Lastly, although Kubiak said Keenum would start at quarterback, don’t be surprised if the youngster gets a quick hook, though Schaub has certainly not endeared himself to the fans this season.
If Houston is to snap its eight-game slide, it will have to do it without the services of starting running back Arian Foster (back surgery) who is done for the year. He joined linebacker Brian Cushing (knee) recently on the list of Texans that will not finish out the season.
As of this past Thursday’s injury report, the Texans were looking at the following:
Did not practice
- Corner back Kareem Jackson (Ribs)
- Corner back Elbert Mack (Hamstring)
- Linebacker Darryl Sharpton (Foot, toe, back)
- Safety Jawanza Starling (Hamstring)
- Tackle Duane Brown (Illness)
- Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (Illness)
- Linebacker Joe Mays (Knee)
- Linebacker Mike Mohamed (Hamstring)
- Guard Wade Smith (Knee)
- Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (Groin)
- Running back Ben Tate (Ribs, ankle, toe)
- Defensive J.J. Watt (Back)
- Tight end Ryan Griffin (Concussion)
- Guard/center Ben Jones (Ankle)
- Safety (Shiloh Keo (Achilles, hamstring)
- Center Chris Myers (Throat)
- Tackle Derek Newton (Knee, elbow)
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.