The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars have the national stage to themselves on Thursday Night Football in Week 14.
The two AFC cellar dwellers have won just five games total this year, with Jacksonville coming into the game at 3-9 and Houston at 2-10. The Jaguars won the first meeting between the AFC South rivals in Week 12, 13-6, thanks to a dominating defensive effort.
Houston has lost 10 games in a row heading into Week 14, most recently falling in heartbreaking fashion at home to the New England Patriots.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, after losing eight games in a row to open the 2013 campaign, Gus Bradley's Jaguars have tasted victory in three of their last four contests.
The only thing at stake Thursday—besides pride—is where the two teams will pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Houston is the league's worst team and would select No. 1 overall if the season ended after Week 13, while Jacksonville would have the No. 3 pick, according to SI.com's Chris Burke.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch the game, along with injury reports and a closer examination of the biggest key to victory.
When: Thursday, Dec. 5, at 8:25 p.m. ET
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Watch: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 43 points
- Spread: Jacksonville (+3)
Texans Injury Report (via HoustonTexans.com)
Did Not Practice: FB Greg Jones (knee); CB Johnathan Joseph (groin); ILB Joe Mays (knee); ILB Darryl Sharpton (knee); G Wade Smith (knee); RB Ben Tate (ribs/ankle)
Limited Practice: CB Kareem Jackson (ribs); OLB Whitney Mercilus (hip); ILB Mike Mohamed (hamstring); C Chris Myers (elbow); ILB Jeff Tarpinian (groin)
Full Practice: S Shiloh Keo (neck); CB Brice McCain (hamstring); T Derek Newton (knee); S Jawanza Starling (hamstring); S D.J. Swearinger (foot)
Jaguars Injury Report (via Jaguars.com)
|Shorts III, Cecil||WR||Groin||LP||-||-||-|
Will Chad Henne Shred Houston's Defense?
Houston's defense is tough against the pass (No. 2 in the NFL), but Henne has proven capable of cracking Wade Phillips' code. He has already had two highly successful performances against Houston in his last two starts against the fallen AFC powerhouse.
Remember, he passed for 354 yards with four touchdowns in a shootout in Houston last year (the Texans barely won that game, 43-37), and he recently completed 71.88 percent of his passes in Week 12, passing for 239 yards to lead his Jags to victory at home.
The former second-round pick out of Michigan also played well in Week 13 against the stingy Cleveland defense, passing for 195 yards with two touchdowns—one of which was the game-winner to Cecil Shorts III—and one interception.
He has the Jaguars on a two-game winning streak, which is impressive, considering most experts didn't expect Jacksonville to win a single game in 2013.
On paper, there's no way Houston should lose. Featuring one of the league's top defensive units, the Texans should be able to grind out a win. But as we've seen all year long, this team has found ways to lose.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville's turnaround in the second half of the season shows this team is clearly headed in the right direction. Bradley has kept his team focused and determined, which is extremely difficult when enduring a long losing streak.
The Jags already won in Houston this year, and with the home crowd behind them they'll win their third game in a row on Thursday Night Football.
Jaguars win 24-17.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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