Previewing The 2013 Houston Texans' Regular Season: Week 11 & 13 (Jaguars vs Texans)

J. Meric

The Texans swept the Jaguars in 2011 and 2012. A 3-peat should be no sweat against a team in full rebuilding mode, right? Get your premature evaluation here.

The last TWO times they played:

September 16, 2012 - Texans 27, Jaguars 7.

Not much to say about this game, really; it was just another Texans python-style strangling of a lesser opponent. Ben Tate had his best game of the season (sadly) with 12 carries for 74 yards and two scores. This stiff arm he lays on Dawan Landry was a thing of beauty. We can only hope that we'll see this brand of Ben Tate for all of 2013.

November 18, 2012 - Jaguars 37, Texans 43.

This game was probably the most thrilling of the 2012 season due to the back and forth action between the two offenses and the overtime game-winning touchdown by Andre Johnson. Matt Schaub threw five TDs while racking up the second most yards in a game in NFL history (527). Things weren't as pretty on the defensive side, though.

Chad Henne looked like Mark Brunell circa 1997 for the Jaguars, throwing for big yardage and four TDs against a sleeping Texans secondary. Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon had his breakout game of the season with seven catches for 236 yards and a score. It's understandable getting torched by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, but this game raised some serious red flags about the effectiveness of the secondary for the rest of the season.

Check out the game highlights here.

The Texans are 13-9 all-time against the Jacksonvile Jaguars.

***

How Jacksonville finished the season:

Off Yds / G Off. Pts / G Def Yds / Game Def Pts / Game
Total 299.3 15.9 380.5 27.7
Rank 29th 30th 30th T-29th

As you can see by the rankings, the 2012 season was absolutely abysmal for the Jaguars. No one should be surprised the offense was ranked so poorly, but the defense took several large steps back from their numbers in 2011 (6th in Def. Yds., 11th in Def. Pts. in 2011).

Shockingly, Mike Mularkey lost his job because of it and has since been replaced by former Seattle Seahawks DC Gus Bradley. Mularkey's time with the Jaguars is best summed up here by ESPN's Paul Kuharsky:

Mularkey's brief tenure -- he didn't even last a year -- was filled with mistakes. His biggest one may have been his loyalty to [then GM Gene] Smith, who assembled a roster that lacked talent on both sides of the ball.
Mularkey probably stuck with Smith's franchise quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, longer than he should have. And the coach's insistence that the team was closer than outsiders thought and his strong stance that he had the roster to turn things around became comical as the losses mounted. The Jaguars lost eight games by at least 16 points, a staggering number of lopsided losses in a parity-filled league.

Mularkey would have been better served had he said publicly what he voiced privately: That the Jaguars didn't have enough playmakers or a starting-caliber quarterback Instead, he never conceded that Jacksonville was a rebuilding project that needed time.

Meanwhile, Gene Smith's four-year run as general manager came to a merciful end with the hiring of Dave Caldwell. Smith built a team that was 22-42 during his time as GM, and not one of his acquired players ever made the Pro Bowl.

***

What Jacksonville has done this offseason

NFL Draft:

Key Arrivals:

  • WR Mohamed Massaquoi, April 5
  • DT Sen'Derrick Marks, April 2
  • DT Roy Miller, March 15
  • RB Justin Forsett, March 15
  • DB Alan Ball, March 15
  • LB Geno Hayes, March 13

Key Departures

  • RB Rashad Jennings, April 11
  • FB Greg Jones, March 27
  • DT Terrance Knighton, March 13
  • WR Laurent Robinson, March 13
  • CB Aaron Ross, March 8
  • S Dawan Landry, March 8

It's hard to call any of the Arrivals "key" when the new GM is stressing a rebuild through the draft. It's also hard to call any of the Departures "key" when the team was so bad last year, but Greg Jones and Terrance Knighton were certainly bright spots for the Jaguars.

Caldwell and Bradley started things right with a solid draft in 2013. Other than quarterback, a strong left tackle is key to any successful franchise, and, by all accounts, they will have that in Joeckel. They smartly avoided over-drafting in a weak QB class and are sticking with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne as each competes for the starting role. Expect that to change quickly with Tajh Boyd and A.J. McCarron looming in 2014.

How about Maurice Jones-Drew? After holding out for most of the preseason, Jones-Drew suffered a foot injury that ended his season early and prevented him from participating in OTAs earlier this year. He's been a Texans killer for many years, so I wouldn't count him out yet. It will be interesting to watch how "offensive weapon" Denard Robinson meshes with Jones-Drew's rumbling style.

Bradley being in the AFC South certainly makes me nervous because of his work in Seattle. His defense ranked in the Top 10 in yardage and scoring the last two years. It may take some time, but the Jaguars could be a force in the AFC South.

***

Toilet Paper Prediction made in July of 2013:

Week 11: Jaguars 23, Texans 24.

Week 13: Texans 23, Jaguars 24.

Who saw that shootout coming last year? Who could've predicted the Q-Tip in 2010? Crazy things can happen against divisional rivals. The Texans will be facing the Jaguars two times in three weeks, which is exactly how the schedule lined up with the Indianapolis Colts last year.

If anyone but Blaine Gabbert is at QB for the Jaguars in Week 13, an upset is certainly possible.

How much longer can we call them the Glitter Kittens, anyway? Also, what do you think of their new uniform and logo?

***

Best reader prediction: _________________

Do my job for me, please, and write something coherent and well thought out. Serious or funny. Modern or postmodern.

Read more about our feline friends over at Big Cat Country.

Leave your thoughts and predictions below! Keep it classy in the comments, and please remember the community guidelines when posting.

Check out Weeks 1-10 of my season previews here.

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