Your Houston Texans return to prime time this evening when they take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football. What was originally thought as a throwaway game for a playoff-bound team has turned into a fierce contest to see which AFC South team will have the inside track for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Much like every edition of "Three and Out," things just kind of got away from the Texans. And much like the Texans having to play out their 2013 schedule, I will play out my prediction responsibilities until Week 17 is in the books. Perhaps when Bob McNair fires Gary Kubiak, I'll fire myself and hire someone else (MDC?) to do "Three and Out" each week. Texans fans deserve better.
In the meantime, we'll slog through the prediction schtick for another month. The offseason can't get here soon enough. Without further ado, three (3) things sure to happen at EverBank Field tonight:
1. Case Keenum has the best game of his young career tonight. His improvement in the pocket was striking against the Patriots last week. He stepped up better than I've ever seen him. He'll continue that against the Jags. Without a turnover, even. Mark Keenum down for 264 yards passing and two TDs.
2. One of those TDs will be to Andre Johnson, who will not duplicate his paltry performance against the Jaguars two weeks ago. I expect 'Dre to post 80 receiving yards. I remain hopeful that maybe, just maybe, DeAndre Hopkins' long reception last week served to remind Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison, and Case Keenum that he is actually on the field and can serve as an eligible receiver from time to time. Tonight, Nuk will find the end zone.
3. Chad Henne didn't throw for any touchdowns against the Texans on November 24th. In fact, the only touchdown scored came on a Maurice Jones-Drew one-yard run early in the first quarter. Not tonight. Henne passes for two touchdowns, one of which will occur inside the five yard line while a Texans' defensive back gives a seven-yard cushion to his assignment. Frank Bush lives!
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: There are a lot of reasons the Texans should lose this game. They've done it for ten consecutive weeks. They're on the road. It's a nationally televised game. The Jaguars just beat them in Houston less than two weeks ago. By any definition, the 2013 Houston Texans are a wretched football team. There's also something to be said for the idea that losing tonight could actually help the franchise going forward in terms of giving the team a shot to take the best player on its board come May. Assuming there's someone competent making those decisions, of course.
As Texans fans know all too well, logic hasn't been an ally of the team this year. This squad find ways to lose. Awful, mind-numbing, pass-the-bottle ways to lose. They're special like that. Additionally, with ten losses already, many fans are actively rooting for (or at least ambivalent about) a loss tonight. Sorry, draftniks. The 2013 Houston Texans will screw you again. Texans 23, Jaguars 20.