Does anyone care about this weekend’s game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars? Will anyone watch?
The answer to those questions is likely a resounding no for most people, but there’s some value to be had in this matchup, so there’s good reason for us to care.
The Texans (2-11) and the Jaguars (2-11) are playing for NFL Draft positioning at this point, so both teams have every incentive to lose this one. But NFL players don’t care about future draft picks, so there’s also a lot of pride on the line this week - especially after Urban Meyer‘s recent firing.
Let’s take a look at how each team’s recent play will affect this matchup in our NFL pick of the day series.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 17.
Jaguars vs Texans Prediction
While the front offices in Houston and Jacksonville are likely hoping for a loss this weekend, each coach is very much on the hot seat and every player not named Trevor Lawrence is playing for his job, so there’s plenty on the line.
The Texans come into this game having lost three straight and 11 of their last 12. They’ve finally decided to move on from Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and will be using the rest of the season to evaluate what they have with Davis Mills.
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The Jaguars enter this matchup on a five-game losing streak and are on the heels of Urban Meyer‘s dismissal so there’s been quite a bit of turmoil in their building as of late. Lawrence has seemingly regressed as the season has progressed, and Meyer did a great job of alienating the team’s best player from last year, running back James Robinson, so it’s not like interim head coach Darrell Bevell can do much worse.
While both defenses can be scored upon, we’re not exactly looking at high-powered offenses for either squad in this AFC South bottom-dweller matchup.
It’s always tough to predict tank-a-thons like this one as both teams limp to the finish line, but the Texans have been playing marginally better of late and haven’t had to deal with the firing of a coach in the last few days.
Prediction: Texans 23, Jaguars 21
Jaguars vs Texans Best Bets
Best Bet: Texans +4.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
As I mentioned above, it’s almost impossible to get a good read on these types of matchups at the end of the season. It’s extremely hard to predict what will happen when two below-average teams with nothing to play face each other. It also doesn’t help that the Jaguars are playing with an interim coaching staff that we haven’t seen and don’t have a read on yet.
That said, the Texans won the first time these two teams played in Week 1, so we’ll have to at least acknowledge that (even if it was a lifetime ago in football time). More importantly to this week, however, the Texans have been playing marginally better football than the Jaguars, and Houston has at least won a game in the past month.
This game is essentially a toss-up, in my humble opinion, and I think it’s going to be close no matter who wins. So I’m going to do the prudent thing and knock my confidence down to a half unit here.
Best Bet: Texans Moneyline (+180) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
Do you have any confidence in either team winning this one? Me neither. I especially don’t have enough confidence to take the Jaguars at -175. So with that, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Jaguars are dealing with too much nonsense internally to overcome the Texans this weekend.
I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if either team wins (after all, the Texans have beaten the Titans and the Jaguars have beaten the Bills), but the Texans moneyline is presenting too much value to pass up.
Best Bet: Over 39.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
We are looking at the two worst offenses in the league in this one. The Texans average a league-low 13.6 points per game, while the Jaguars aren’t far behind with an average of 13.8.
That said, we’re also looking at two bottom-10 defenses with the Texans allowing an average of 27.4 points per game and the Jaguars allowing an average of 26.2 points per game. Stoppable forces meet movable objects, right?
Both defenses might be the elixir these struggling offenses need, so while I don’t think we’ll see an absolute shootout, I think we’ll see enough points to overcome this relatively low total this weekend. Back the Over here as your NFL pick of the day.
Nick Raducanu’s 2021 NFL Team vs Team Betting Record: 17-7, +12.0 Units