Namaste. - David Banks
This week, the Blueprint looks at how the 8-1 Houston Texans will answer the call of duty and focus on beating the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last week, we kept things pretty simple for the Deep Steel Blueprint, and head coach Gary Kubiak ran with it, although inside linebacker Tim Dobbins may have taken it an extra step too far. After that spot-on week, the Blueprint welcomes a very appropriate sponsor, in the form of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I do not mean appropriate in a demographic sense, although that works as well, but rather in the whole 'duty' sense.
This week your Houston Texans take on the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. The same Jaguars on a six-game losing streak that have lost six of eight games by two or more scores. It is the same Jaguars squad that the Texans beat by 20 in September for their fourth straight victory in this rivalry. How does a team take the Jaguars seriously? Better yet, how does a blogger break down the Jaguars without devolving into "LOLJags" and "LOLGabbert" jokes?
It goes back to duty. This week is an obligation and a responsibility. I have to, and often enjoy, writing the Blueprints. As for the Texans? They need more wins to lock up the AFC South and home-field advantage. Needless to say, the locker room is not looking ahead to the Thanksgiving match-up in Detroit. With all eyes on the teal-and-black, the question is what do the Texans need to watch for or do to beat a team that fields the league's worst offense (32nd in yards and points per game) and seventh-worst defense (26th in yards and points allowed per game).
As far as what to watch for, there's not much. Jacksonville still runs a limited offense behind young Master Gabbert and gives up a lot of sacks (25 - tied for sixth most). Defensively, the Jags allow the fourth-most rushing yards per game and have a league-low 10 sacks. The Jaguars do not appear to have the talent to stop head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips from doing what they like to do.
Defensively, Phillips should be able to dial up the pressure on the Blonde Wonder with a four and five-man rush, especially without their leading rusher in the backfield. Offensively, especially with no Daryl Smith and possibly no Rashean Mathis and Dwight Lowery, the Texans should be able to boot-action their way to a lead and chew up game clock with a heavy dose of Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Justin Forsett.
Again, it is not a complicated Blueprint, nor should it be with a 1-8 team coming into The Bullring. In an ideal world, the Texans live up to their 'One Focus' mantra and dispatch the Jaguars by halftime to allow their starters a bit more rest with a Thursday game this week. A quick and boring (read: non-competitive, complete with a second-half filled with running) game will mean Houston answered the call of duty and took care of their business like a good team does.
Check out the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is available now at Best Buy.