*Here are Five Things to Watch when the Texans face the Jaguars on Sunday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
1. Bottle Bortles: The rookie quarterback for the Jaguars will start his 10th game of 2014 on Sunday
against Houston. He's completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 2,261 yards, been picked off 15 times and thrown nine touchdowns. But the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has the full attention, and appreciation, of the Texans and their defense.
"Bortles has great arm talent," cornerback Kareem Jackson said. "He's very capable of making throws regardless of him being a rookie. We'll go out there just like he's any other quarterback."
Inside linebacker Brian Cushing agreed.
"Good young quarterback, strong arm, can make all the throws and a lot faster than people think, an athletic kid," Cushing said. "Like I said, I'm expecting his best game along with the rest of the team."
For defensive end J.J. Watt, a key ingredient to limiting Bortles' success lies in the rookies' mobility.
"I think that's one thing that is sometimes overlooked," Watt said. "He can run, so you have to make sure you're aware of you pass rush lanes and you have to make sure that you keep him contained. He also has a good arm, so you have to take everything into account with him."
Bortles has been sacked a whopping 34 times in 2014.
2. Welcome back, Jack: For the first time since November 2, Jackson will get some game action.
The Texans have played the Jaguars in Jacksonville, once every season since 2002. Those matchups get the Throwback Thursday treatment.
The veteran corner left the Eagles' game with a knee injury and missed the next three contests. But he returned to practice this week and should be back on the field Sunday against the Jaguars.
"It's very important to be out there battling with my teammates," Jackson said. "Just to be out there and be a part of the success and helping those guys compete and win, it's very important to me."
The comeback after missing most of November is welcomed by the rest of the defense, most notably from the other starting corner.
"Any time you have a chance to get a guy like Kareem back it means a lot for this defense," Johnathan Joseph said. "Just another leader out there on defense and another play maker."
Jackson has one interception this season.
3. Takeaway bonanza: Jackson's lone pick came in Week 2 at Oakland. Joseph has a pair of
interceptions, and so does second-year corner A.J. Bouye. Jumal Rolle is the team leader with three, and seven other Texans have picked off a pass. In all, Houston's recorded an NFL-best 28 takeaways this season.
That prolific number is not lost on Jacksonville, and head coach Gus Bradley attributes a lot of it to Watt.
"Their whole defense is really opportunistic with all of the takeaways they have," Bradley said. "You want to give credit to everybody, but he's a big part of it."
The Jaguars, meanwhile, have coughed the ball up 24 times this season.
The Texans have a takeaway in every game in 2014, and had four last week against the Titans.
4. Andre 1000: The milestone march by Andre Johnson rolls on, and a big mark within reach on
Sunday is 1,000 receptions. Johnson currently has 992 in his career, and if he were to catch eight more passes against Jacksonville he would tie Marvin Harrison as the fastest to reach the mark. Harrison did it in 167 games.
"It will be big when it happens," Johnson said. "Not many people have been able to do it. To be in that category, it will mean a lot."
With nine catches, Johnson would move past Hines ward and into ninth place on the all-time receptions list. Two more receiving yards will place Johnson in 12th place on the career yardage list, pushing him past Torry Holt.
5. Sixpatrick rides again: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week
because of his six touchdown passes against Tennessee. He'll face a Jaguars' front seven that's well-respected.
"It's really a strong point on their team," O'Brien said. "It's a very tough chore for our guys and a big challenge."
Fitzpatrick wasn't sacked last weekend in 33 pass attempts, and that level of protection from the offensive line will be a key not just in this contest at Jacksonville, but in the three to follow in December.