Texans vs. Jaguars Odds, Predictions, Picks: Can You Trust Urban Meyer-less Jags To Cover NFL Week 15 Spread?
Getty Images. Pictured: Texans QB Davis Mills and Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (left to right)
- With Urban Meyer out of the picture, can you trust the Jaguars to cover their NFL Week 15 spread against the Texans? Our analyst doesn't think so.
- With Texans vs. Jaguars odds shifting one point from Jacksonville -5.5 to -4.5 since writing, find out to what point our analyst sees betting value on this matchup.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
This matchup between the Texans and Jaguars has become a lot more unpredictable — and exciting — after Jacksonville fired head coach Urban Meyer this week. The Jaguars have struggled all season despite posting the biggest upset of the season, a 9-6 Week 9 win over Buffalo. Could the firing of Meyer ignite a Jacksonville offense that is talented, but has yet to produce?
Houston has battled all season, despite being entering the year with the lowest win total in the NFL. The Texans have finally transitioned away from veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor to third-round rookie quarterback Davis Mills. Over the last few weeks, their team goal will be to try to establish which players can provide the foundation for future success.
This is a rematch of the opening game of the year, where Houston beat the Jaguars 37-21 as home underdogs. Which team should bettors back this week?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Texans vs. Jaguars Injury Report
- S Justin Reid (concussion/illness): Out
- TE Brevin Jordan (hand): Questionable
- RB Rex Burkhead (hip/quad): Questionable
- LB Kevin Pierre-Lewis (hamstring/wrist): Questionable
- RB Carlos Hyde (concussion): Out
Texans vs. Jaguars Matchup
|Texans Offense||DVOA Rank||Jaguars Defense|
|Texans Defense||DVOA Rank||Jaguars Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Texans Looking Toward Future
If we look at team DVOA, the Texans are basically equal to the Jaguars. Houston ranks 30th overall in team DVOA, just one spot behind Jacksonville. However, the Texans hold a huge advantage in defensive efficiency, ranking 13th overall ahead of several teams with better records. The Titans (9-4), Browns (7-6) and Packers (10-3) all rank below Houston in overall defensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders.
The switch to Mills under center is logical and could actually improve the offense. The rookie has thrown for over 300 yards in two of his past three starts, with three touchdowns and just one interception. Mills has been highly accurate throughout the year, completing a solid 65.8% of his passes.
The Texans injury report is relatively limited, providing Mills with a full slate of weapons. Brandin Cooks has been a solid receiver all year, and rookie Nico Collins has started to make a much bigger impact with 10 targets last game.
The Texans have struggled to find consistency at running back, but may have turned a corner with Royce Freeman. The 25-year-old RB struggled on the ground against Seattle, but caught six of his eight targets for 51 receiving yards.
Add in athletic tight end Brevin Jordan, and the Texans have their best set of offensive weapons entering any game this season.
Jaguars Ready To Raise Level Of Effort & Performance
Jacksonville will certainly get a boost from the dismissal of Meyer, but it’s hard to see that being a reason to make the Jaguars a five-point favorite.
The Jaguars still have one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking 29th overall and 31st against the pass. In their first matchup, Taylor connected on 64% of his passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Mills brings a stronger arm and several games of experience. Jacksonville’s pass rush only averages 1.8 sacks per game, not enough to make the rookie uncomfortable.
Jacksonville’s running back James Robinson should finally see a normal rush share after opportunities were siphoned to veteran Carlos Hyde under Meyer’s reign. There should be efficiency against a weak Houston run defense, but can a team with a league-worst -19 turnover differential really control the ball on the ground?
The Jaguars are 4-9 against the spread, second-worst in the league. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has thrown just one touchdown in the past six games. It’s hard to see a team with those struggles not only win, but cover a five-point spread.
Texans vs. Jaguars Predictions
The culture was certainly bad under Meyer, and I expect the team to respond positively to his dismissal. But the Texans have played hard for head coach David Culley all season, and I expect Houston to at least keep this game close.
I’ll take the five points with the visitor against a Jacksonville team with other problems besides the departed head coach.
Pick: Texans +5 | Bet to: +4
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