Sunday, October 11, 2020, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, 1 p.m. ET
Jaguars at Texans Betting Preview: Jaguars (+6.5/+240), Texans (-6.5/-286)
After shocking the league with a Week 1 upset of Indianapolis, the Jaguars have dropped three in a row. Their defense has allowed at least 31 points in each of the last three games, unable to consistently stop the run or generate much of a pass rush.
The loss of cornerback D.J. Hayden (hamstring) won’t help that embattled unit, although coach Doug Marrone has expressed optimism that linebacker Myles Jack (ankle) and rookie cornerback CJ Henderson (shoulder) might be able to return on Sunday.
Jacksonville’s offense is a brighter light, as second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II is completing just over 72 percent of his passes and is averaging 284.5 yards per game. The emergence of rookie free agent James Robinson, who has 285 yards in four games and 15 receptions, has given the Jaguars help at running back.
There’s no sugarcoating this situation: The Texans played badly enough in an 0-4 start to get coach Bill O’Brien fired. Their defense hasn’t been good, the offense is too one-dimensional and quarterback Deshaun Watson simply can’t do it all himself with inferior talent around him.
Romeo Crennel is the interim coach for the season’s remainder, a role he’s not unfamiliar with, and he knows what must be done to fix things. But does he have the material to make it happen? There are stars, but Houston is also allowing 31.5 points per game and is the only team in the league without an interception.
One thing the Texans should focus on doing, especially this week, is cranking up the running game. If David Johnson is going to break out and get the league’s worst rush offense untracked, it should be against a Jaguars’ run defense that Joe Mixon (season-high 151 yards) simply destroyed last week in Cincinnati.
Jaguars at Texans Betting Pick for Week 5
At least this week, the Texans are a good candidate for the “dead cat bounce” teams get after firing a coach. O’Brien wasn’t completely to blame for the 0-4 record, but his decisions as general manager clearly didn’t improve the product and he paid the price.
Look for this game to morph into a shootout. Minshew is capable of matching Watson score for score, so this one will probably come down to the last possession. The guess here is that Watson accounts for the winning score to get Houston off the schneid.
Jaguars at Texans Betting Pick:
Texans 31, Jaguars 27
Jaguars at Texans Best Bet for Week 5
In the first game after firing a coach, teams are usually laser-focused to start the game. If that theory holds true on Sunday, take a stab on the Texans getting off to a fast start as Watson comes out smoking.
The Jaguars’ secondary isn’t exactly earning comparisons to the Broncos of five years ago, and Houston takes advantage with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns.
Jaguars at Texans Best Bet: OVER 10.5 points for Texans in the first quarter (-182)