Following a franchise-high 45 points and six-touchdown performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick, head coach Bill O'Brien has a to-do list for coaches and players heading into the final stretch of the 2014 season: consistency, preparation, and practice.
The Texans, who haven't won back-to-back games since Week 2, want to build on their momentum from Sunday's 45-21 win over the Tennessee Titans.
"I think it comes down to consistency," O'Brien said Monday. "I think it's really important—it's vitally important to go out there and have a great week of practice and I think that's what we did last week. When you look at our practice week, there was a lot of energy. Guys were really detailed and focused. That's what we have to do this week again."
Now in the final month of the regular season, the 6-6 Texans are still vying for a playoff spot. They'll face an AFC South rival in three of those final four games. The first of their two meetings against the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars takes place Sunday.
"I think the big thing is that we have to really study Jacksonville," O'Brien said. "Just having watched a lot of Jacksonville this morning already, I don't care what their record is. I really don't. It's not coach-speak; it's the truth. This team is a talented team, well-coached. I have a lot of respect for Gus Bradley and the way he coaches, the energy that he brings to their team."
The Jaguars are coming off a 25-24 win over the New York Giants to snap a four-game losing streak. Jacksonville rallied back from a 21-point deficit with a performance that included two defensive touchdowns against the Giants.
"They have got a really good rookie quarterback in Blake Bortles, Shoelaces (Dennard Robinson) is doing a great job as a running back for them," O'Brien said. "They've got a lot of talented players. Their front seven on defense is very, very good. This is a very big challenge for us."
The Texans offense set season highs in total yards (457), yards passing (358), and converted a franchise-record 11 third downs in their Week 13 win. Houston's defense matched a season-high four turnovers and held Tennessee to just 320 yards of total offense, the second lowest total for an opponent in 2014 (316 vs. Buffalo on 9/28/14).
"It felt good to see the team go out there and play really complementary football in all three phases," O'Brien said. "You can look at our special teams and how a good punt led to a good defensive stand which then led to a touchdown on offense. We need to do this on a consistent basis. If we do, then we'll win games, but if we don't, we're going to win one close and lose one close. I think our guys understand that and I believe that our guys will come back to work on Wednesday with a lot of energy and detail and focus. That's what it's going to have to be to win this game."