2002 Record: (4-5) 11.17.02 | 12pm
November 14, 2002
Break Out The Brooms
by Jimmy Mohr
The Texans look to sweep the season series with the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The teams have taken completely different paths since their first meeting in week seven when the Texans embarrassed the Jags in Jacksonville. The Texans have lost two in a row; the first to the formerly winless Bengals and then to the Titans, scoring 13 points in the two games combined. The Jaguars split their last two games and looked impressive last week against the Redskins, whipping them 26-7. The win moved the Jaguars back into playoff contention and kept them two games behind the AFC South division leaders.
The Jaguars have won only once on the road this season, a victory in Kansas City in week two. Their next two are in Houston and Dallas; anything less than two road victories would most likely end any legitimate shot they have at the playoffs. With this in mind, the Jaguars will be the team with all of the motivation going into this Sunday’s game. Furthermore, they do not want to let the expansion Texans sweep them.
The Texans are competing for the first pick in next year’s draft. The remaining schedule is brutal; each opponent will likely be fighting for a playoff spot. Head coach Dom Capers has to somehow motivate his troops or face the possibility of a 2-14 inaugural campaign.
The Jaguars and Texans are evenly matched on defense; the Texans are 11th overall while the Jaguars are 15th. Jay Foreman and Jamie Sharper combined for 20 tackles in the first meeting when the Texans limited Fred Taylor to 106 total yards. A similar defensive performance is required in this week’s contest; the Texans are 6th in the league against the pass but only 22nd against the run. They will need to concentrate on limiting Taylor’s all-purpose yards.
The Texans offense is ranked at or near the bottom in every category; in fact the offense is synonymous with sacks, penalties and three-and-outs. An offensive outburst in any of the remaining games would go a long way to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jacksonville represents the first step in proving that the cellar of the AFC South is not where the Texans will be for long.
When the Texans have the ball…
The Jaguars sacked Carr four times in the first meeting and this week they should be gunning for more. The Texans’ young offensive line have proven each week that they have trouble reading and picking up the blitz packages thrown at them. The Titans sacked Carr four times last week, but pressured him countless other times. The running game is not helping matters. Last week, Jonathan Wells and James Allen averaged a mere 2.3 yards per carry. Against the Jags in week seven, the Texans mustered only 2.5 yards per carry. David Carr will have to rely on Corey Bradford and Jabar Gaffney to move the ball, meaning if he has time to throw, there’s a chance.
When the Jaguars have the ball…
In the Texans victory, Mark Brunell was still feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered the week before. Expect a sharper and more determined Brunell this week. Against Washington, he completed 65% of his pass attempts; over half of which went to either Fred Taylor or Jimmy Smith. The X factor is Bobby Shaw, who quietly outgained Smith last week thru the air. If the Texans ignore him, he could be the deciding factor in the game.
1. Play the spoiler role
The Texans are left to play spoiler for the rest of the season. They can either roll over and die or fight like a bulldog. They are destined to finish the season in the cellar of the AFC South, but a sweep against the Jags would at least put the people in Jacksonville on notice that the Texans won’t be there for long.
2. Produce on offense
The offense has gone from terrible to respectable and now to ridiculous. The Texans couldn’t pick up a third or fourth and one to save their life against the Titans. Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer calling a pitchout on fourth and one when they hadn’t run the ball all day was perplexing. The offensive line is a weakness, but it’s time for them to show they can play in this league.
3. The Texans defense
Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith, with the help of Mark Brunell, make the Jaguars’ offense tick. The Texans’ defense did a great job of limiting their effectiveness in the first meeting. Keeping these two under wraps is the key to keeping the game close. The defense will need to force turnovers to have a chance to actually win this game. A defensive touchdown would be monumental since the Texan offense is nearing rock bottom, or is already there.
In the first meeting, the Texans opened their bag of tricks on special teams that led to the winning field goal. Jabar Gaffney lateraled a punt return to Aaron Glenn who scampered up field into Jacksonville territory. Kris Brown kicked his one and only game-winner this season. The Jaguars will be ready for anything the Texans may throw at them… or will they?
The Texas Weather vs. The Jags
OK, this is really going out on a limb, but the forecast calls for cold temperatures on Sunday. Let’s open the roof and let the warm weather Jaguars try and win on the road on the frozen tundra of Reliant Stadium. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a shirtless Houston fan holding up a large beer with his breath shooting out of his trap like steam out of a locomotive in cold weather? If that ain’t football at its best what is?
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: If you thought the Bengals were motivated against us, how do you think the Jags would react to the thought of losing to an expansion team twice?? Jags 30, Texans 14
Dave: They beat ’em on the road, they’ll beat ’em at home. Texans 24, Jags 16
Jimmy: The Jags need the playoffs, the Texans need draft picks. Jags 24, Texans 13
Keith: This time it’s personal… for the bad guys. Jags 20, Texans 13
Ric: Asking the Texans to beat the Jags twice is like asking your 10-year old not to see the new Harry Potter movie. Jags 28, Texans 10
Warren: Put the brooms away — no sweep this season. Jags 24, Texans 20
2002 Regular Season Records Bob 5-4; Dave 4-5; Jimmy 4-5; Keith 7-2;
Ric 6-3; Warren 4-5
TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 241 126 1569 8/10 TEAM 243 128 1613 10/10 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Wells 109 352 3.2 1 TEAM 245 854 3.5 2 REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 29 519 17.9 5 TEAM 128 1613 12.6 10 JAGS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Brunell 263 155 1806 8/4 TEAM 270 159 1859 8/6 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Taylor 182 772 4.2 5 TEAM 268 1238 4.6 13 REC NO YDS AVG TD Smith 48 671 14.0 3 TEAM 159 1859 11.7 8 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review