Five things to watch: Texans vs. Jaguars


Here are five things to watch for when the Texans (5-10) take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7) on Fan Appreciation Day presented by FOX Sports Houston at Reliant Stadium. Kickoff is on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. CT.

The Texans are 8-9 all-time against the Jaguars, including a 31-24 loss in Week 10 at Jacksonville. The Jaguars can win the AFC South with a victory over the Texans and a Colts loss to the Titans.

1. Title pursuit:Sixteen weeks after he went off for 231 yards against Indy, Texans running back Arian Foster can become the first player in team history to win the league rushing title. He has a 56-yard lead over Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs and a 111-yard lead over his next-closest competition, the Titans' Chris Johnson.

"I don't think you go out into the game and say, 'We're just going to run the ball so Arian wins the title,'" Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "But I think it's important that if we play the way we're capable of playing, he should find a way to get that done. It's important to everybody."

The Jaguars allow 113.4 rushing yards per game, but they limited Foster to 56 yards on 15 carries in Week 10. It was his third-lowest rushing total of the season.

Foster needs 64 rushing yards and four receiving yards to become the sixth player in NFL history with 1,500 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in the same season.

2. Schaub's stats:Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is also approaching a rare statistical milestone. He needs 113 passing yards to become the fifth player in NFL history with 9,000 yards in a two-year period.

Despite being without tight end Owen Daniels for much of the year and wide receiver Andre Johnson for parts of it, he ranks fourth in the NFL with 4,117 passing yards. He led the league with 4,770 yards in 2009.

"A couple of years ago, we were talking about him not being able to play 16 games," Kubiak said. "This is two years in a row that he's held up. If he holds up, he's going to put up some big numbers throughout his career."

Schaub was 22-of-32 for 314 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars earlier this season.

3. Opportunity knocks:Filling in for Andre Johnson last Sunday at Denver, wide receiver Jacoby Jones had a career-high 115 receiving yards on five catches. He'll start again this week for Johnson, who is likely to be shelved by an ankle injury for the second consecutive game.

"I like what he did last week, and he'll get an opportunity to do it this week," Kubiak said. "It's Jacoby's chance to prove that he's a starter in this league, and he's been impressive this week with just the way he's been practicing and gotten ready to play. So I'm expecting the same."

The Texans had high expectations for Jones coming into the season, his fourth out of Lane College. He competed with Kevin Walter for a starting spot during training camp, but a calf injury in Week 4 and dropped passes later in the season added up to a rocky campaign. Like last week, this is his time to shine.

4. No Mo-Jo:Maurice Jones-Drew, the heartbeat of the Jaguars' offense and starting running back for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, will be inactive for the second consecutive game because of a knee injury.

Two weeks ago, Jones-Drew trailed Foster by only 21 rushing yards for the league lead. He still ranks fourth in the league with 1,324 yards. MJD ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans in Week 10.

Starting in Jones-Drew's place will be Rashad Jennings, a second-year pro out of Liberty. Jennings (6-1, 228) has averaged 5.7 yards per carry this season, but he had only 32 yards on 15 carries (2.1 average) last week in his first-career start at running back.

5. QB change:In addition to Jones-Drew, the Jaguars will without their starting quarterback. David Garrard was placed on injured reserve on Thursday because of a finger injury in his right hand, leaving the Jaguars with Trent Edwards as their Week 17 starter.

A former starter with the Buffalo Bills, Edwards is in his fourth season out of Stanford. He has appeared in two games for the Jags this season, going 14-of-24 for 140 yards and two interceptions.

Garrard is 6-2 as a starter against the Texans dating back to 2005. He has hurt Houston at times as much with his legs as his arm, and Kubiak expects Edwards to pose a similar threat.

"I don't think anything will change," he said."He could move just like Garrard, so I think their offense stays the same. They are built around the run, and he's very capable of running around. So I think we'll face the same thing offensively."

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