All the playoff chips are falling perfectly for the Houston Texans.
The perennial AFC South bully, the Indianapolis Colts, have fallen on the toughest of times and are currently mired in the division's winless cellar. Meanwhile, the rest of the division—the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans—have looked underwhelming to date (unless they're playing the Baltimore Ravens, ironically enough).
Consequently, the path to the postseason would appear to be six lanes and wide open.
Unfortunately for Texans fans, the Houston bandwagon seems to be having transmission issues (so let's call it a band-wagoneer).
It was smooth sailing through the early season as the Texans won three of their first four games to burst from the Colt-less gates. But two losses in three games have brought the frequent dark-horse darlings back to the pack a bit and have threatened to totally erase all that September good cheer.
The good news is that, with a win over the division-rival Jags, Houston can reduce its list of AFC South concerns to just the aforementioned Titans. Tied 7-all at halftime, here are five halftime adjustments the Texans can make to hang that sixth loss on the 2-5 Jags:
1. Keep Going Deep
Even though QB Matt Schaub is missing his favorite target with Andre Johnson on the sideline, he's been oh-so-close on a couple deep balls. Wide receivers Kevin Walters and Jacoby Jones are most certainly not Johnson, but they don't need to be. The way this game is going, one big play might be enough.
2. Someone Slap Matt Schaub
Seriously, I thought this guy was supposed to be knocking on the elite QB door?
He's looked entirely mediocre in the first 30 minutes, missing open receivers on more than one occasion and generally playing like an average stiff. Gotta get him back on track.
3. Forget About Pass Defense
OK, not literally, but saying the Jaguars' passing game is anemic is an insult to blood deficiency. The Texans only need to show the barest minimum of respect to the Jacksonville vertical threat while crashing the box and holding Maurice Jones-Drew in check.
4. No More Turnovers
It feels very much like the Jaguars cannot score these days if they're forced to travel the length of the field. On the other hand, even a terrible offense can put points on the board if it takes over inside the red zone.
We saw proof of this at the end of the second quarter when Schaub fumbled and the Jags eventually punched it in for six.
Protect the pigskin and victory is there for the taking.
5. See How Strong Arian Foster's Hamstring Really Is
With Schaub out of sorts—or just plain overrated—and no guarantee that the QB will straighten up and fly right plus the aforementioned injury that has sidelined Andre Johnson, Houston has but one of its most dangerous weapons left. Only Arian Foster is operational and even he has been touched up by the injury bug.
But Houston can't worry about his balky hamstring because it's time to ride Foster until the figurative wheels come off. You can mix in Ben Tate for some spice, but Arian's gonna have to have a big second half if the Texans want the "W."