If'n I was the type given to accountability or personal reflection, I might use this space to analyze how true my calls about last week's season-opener were. But I'm not, so I won't. Let's just all agree that everything I said came to pass precisely as I said it would. It's best that way.
This week's set of predictions for Texans-Jaguars await you just over yonder. Go ahead and get your bookie on the phone now so you can wager appropriately as you read and digest these forthcoming nuggets of truth.
1. The last time the Texans played the Jaguars, Matt Leinart was the starter at QB. Then he got hurt, and a dapper young man named T.J. Yates came in to the game for his first taste of NFL action. The Texans won that game 20-13. It's a new season, and your Houston Texans have a lad by the name of Matt Schaub back under center. He's a scoach better than Leinart or Yates, and if last week was any indication, the Texans will come out throwing. The Schaub shall have a strong and steady game, throwing for 279 yards and 2 TDs (one to Owen Daniels and one to Andre Johnson). I also foresee Schaub throwing his first pick of the year, though that feeling might just be the turkey and bacon club sandwich I had for lunch.
2. Derek Newton and Antoine Caldwell will be better and more consistent than they were in Week One. This will be evident when the Texans have more success running to the right side tomorrow. It won't be enough to ease all of your concerns, but Arian Foster and Ben Tate don't need much to get going. With lesser RBs or a lesser passing attack, this would be a much bigger deal. Foster and Tate each find the end zone once and, between the two of them, rush for a total of 163 yards.
3. Throughout the preseason, we read and heard quite a bit about how Blaine Gabbert was vastly improved from his rookie year. That may be true--in the spirit of full disclosure, I don't think I saw a Jacksonville preseason snap--but I remain extremely skeptical that he'll be able to get anything going on something approaching a consistent basis against Wade Phillips' charges tomorrow. Gabbert may make it through the game without uttering a gem like, "Whoa there, person who has had relations with his mother!", but I believe he's going to get gored a time or four by the Bulls On Parade. Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, J.J. Watt, and yes, Brian Cushing all sack Gabbert. And he'll throw two picks to boot (Glover Quin and Johnathan Joseph).
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: Houston-Jacksonville games are often dogfights. Even when the Texans were awful (e.g., almost every year of their existence), they always seemed to be able to compete against the Jags. I might be tempted to call a final score within a touchdown tomorrow if the Jags weren't already in such rough shape injury-wise. I think the Texans will get up by 10-14 points early. The Jags will have to go to the air more often and sooner than they'd like, and I don't see that working out for them. Texans 28, Jaguars 16.