The Houston Texans started slow in Week 1 but eventually manhandled the Miami Dolphins en route to their first win of the season. Although Week 2 will present a step up in resistance, they are still expected to leave Florida with a record of 2-0.
The Jacksonville Jaguars showed that they are in fact an improved team from the unit that finished 5-11 last season. The only question is: how much are they improved? On one hand, the Jags showed plenty of heart in coming from behind and nearly beating the Minnesota Vikings on the road. At the same time, they couldn’t hold a three-point lead with less than 30 seconds to go.
The Texans should win this game rather easily if they are focused for 60 minutes. Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert may have appeared to be an improved passer last week but that was against the Vikings, who have a shoddy secondary. The Texans front seven will be in his face all game long and the Texans secondary should be ready to pounce.
The knock on Gabbert is that he’s not good when he’s under pressure. He stops looking down field and he starts making errant throws. The Texans defense had 2.5 sacks last week and three interceptions, so Gabbert could be in trouble.
Meanwhile, the Texans offense should be encouraged by the matchup. Christian Ponder and the Vikings meek passing game completed 20-of-27 passes for 270 yards last week with a 105.5 quarterback rating. Matt Schaub has far more weapons to work with and if he has free rein to do whatever he wants, this game won’t be close.
The Texans shouldn’t assume anything in this spot as the Jags are improved and it’s their first home game in the Shad Kham-Mike Mularkey era. The crowd will be fired up. Even so, the Texans are the better team and people making their NFL picks should expect them to win.