Here are five things to watch when the Texans (8-1, 2-0 AFC South) take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, 1-2 AFC South) on Deep Steel Sunday presented by Capital One Bank at Reliant Stadium in Week 11. Kickoff is Sunday at noon CT.
1. Trap game?: The Texans are tied for the best record in the NFL. The Jaguars are tied for the worst record in the NFL. This has all the makings of a so-called “trap game,” but the Texans are having none of it.
“I don’t even know who invented that term,” Texans running back
The Texans’ defense ranks top-three in scoring, yards, passing and rushing. The Jaguars’ offense ranks bottom-three in each category. The Texans have allowed 15.9 points per game while the Jaguars have scored just 14.1. The Texans have allowed 281.6 yards per game while the Jaguars have gained an average of 263.6.
Houston has won four consecutive games against Jacksonville, the longest streak in the all-time series. They dominated Jacksonville 27-7 at EverBank Field in Week 2, allowing a franchise-record 117 yards in the victory.
2. Ball control: The last time the Texans played the Jaguars, they set a franchise record with 43:17 in time of possession. Arian Foster and
The Texans had 83 offensive plays and had 411 yards against the Jaguars in Week 2. Foster or Tate got the ball on 50 of those plays (60.2 percent) and combined for 244 yards (59.4 percent).
Tate will not play this week, missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring injury.
3. Texans pass rush: The Texans didn’t have a sack last week for the first time since Week 13 of last season against Atlanta. That’s unlikely to happen again this week. The Jaguars have allowed 25 sacks, sixth-most in the league, while the Texans have 25 sacks of their own.
Texans defensive end
4. Rushing defense: If the Jaguars look to their running game to take pressure off Gabbert, they could be in for a long day. The Texans rank third in the league in rushing defense (85.6 yards per game) and have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season.
Jaguars Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who led the league in rushing last season, will not play this week because of a foot injury. Rashad Jennings has started the last three games but has only 40 carries for 131 yards (3.3 average) with zero touchdowns in that span.
The Texans limited Bears running back Matt Forte to 39 rushing yards on 16 carries (2.4 average) last Sunday. They have allowed more than 70 rushing yards to only one player this season (Chris Johnson, Week 4).
5. Sharpton’s return: Inside linebacker
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Friday that Sharpton is ready to contribute on special teams and defense. A fourth-round draft pick in 2011, Sharpton rotated with DeMeco Ryans in the first eight games of last season before he was injured against the Jaguars.