Already with the biggest spread in the NFL this year, the Jaguars-Texans slugfest promises to be a lopsided affair.
Here's everything you need to know about the game.
What it Means
The Texans are fighting for the right to host throughout the playoffs.
The Jaguars are fighting to obtain the top pick in the 2013 draft. Or they are playing not to have the worst record in football, depending on how you look at it.
Either way, these two teams are heading in completely opposite directions.
Stat that Matters
Net Yards per Attempt
NY/A is a crucial stat for understanding why teams win and lose games.
The Houston Texans defense leads the NFL in NY/A, allowing just over five yards per dropback.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense is last in the NFL in NY/A, averaging less than five yards per dropback.
In other words, the Jaguars turn every opposing defense into the Houston Texans.
If you are looking for reasons why one team has seven more wins than the other, that's a good place to start.
Biggest Advantage for the Jaguars
In terms of yards per carry, the Jaguars are average defensively, allowing 4.2 yards a tote. That's 15th in the NFL.
Houston is 20th on offense, averaging fewer than four.
If the Jaguars have anything working for them in this game, it's the ability to make the Texans slog along. Houston's run-heavy style doesn't lend itself to early blowouts, so the Jaguars could conceivably hang around long enough to make a big special teams play or two.
Biggest Advantage for the Texans
The Jaguars manage to keep their sack rate vaguely respectable (20th overall) by throwing an abundance of short routes. Hence they are last in the NFL in NY/A.
Anyone who has watched them play knows their offensive line is suspect.
The Texans love to parade their bulls all over the quarterback.
Houston's defensive front seven and unpredictable pass rush should be able to hassle Blaine Gabbert enough to make good and sure there's no hope for an upset.
For a refresher course in what J.J. Watt did to the Jaguars the last time he met them, this should jog your memory.
Best Video Only Tangentially Related to the Game
Presented without comment. Marginally NSFW.
Jacksonville Will Win If...
...Zombie Mark Brunell rises from the grave and brings the ghost of Jimmy Smith and Undead Fred Taylor with him.
Those men are still alive?
In that case, the Jaguars aren't going to win this game.
If you truly demand a viable path to victory for Jacksonville, it involves stopping Foster, forcing turnovers and making a huge special teams play that leads to points.
Oh, and voodoo.
Houston Will Win If...
...Matt Schaub and/or T.J. Yates remain healthy enough to finish the entire game.
Anything short of injuries to both quarterbacks, and the Texans will roll. Yes, the Jaguars have played tough on the road, and yes, it's a division game, but please.
In all seriousness, the Texans need for Jacksonville to pass and then punish their hubris in doing so.
Offensively, Houston simply needs to maintain focus in the red zone and be sure to convert a few long drives into touchdowns.
Houston is playing better than any team in football right now.
Jacksonville is playing worse.
Don't overthink it.
Houston 30 Jacksonville 13
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!