Chade Henne led the Jags' offensive shootout in the Texans' 43-37 overtime win last November. Starter Blaine Gabbert was sidelined after a Danieal Manning sack during the Jacksonville's first possession. Henne was 16-for-33 with 354 yards and four touchdowns in the last time the two teams met.
"Henne had a big day against us last year," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "We respect their quarterback, his ability and he's really smart. He really threw deep the ball really well against us last year, which is something we pride ourselves on not giving up very often. That's why we are we are on pass defense. We don't give up a lot of big plays. He made a whole bunch of them in that game last year."
Last week against Arizona, Henne completed 27-of-42 passes for 255 yards to ten different Jaguars receivers. A banged up Texans secondary could be without Kareem Jackson for a second-straight week. Jackson is slated to be a game-time decision for an injury to his ribs he suffered at Arizona, making it even more imperative that Houston .
"I think the greatest thing about his game is that he gets the ball off fast, so it stops you from making big plays and sacks and things," Antonio Smith said. "But in watching film, he does throw picks. As long as we can keep a lead on them and keeping them passing that ball, I think we'll be able to get him."
2. Containing MoJo
Maurice Jones-Drew, inactive in the Texans' overtime win, has eclipsed 100 yards rushing on three occasions against Houston. Over 11 contests with Houston, the three-time Pro Bowler has rushed for a total of 744 yards, averaging 4.6 yards/carry, for ten touchdowns and 40 first downs. Despite his struggles this season averaging just 2.9 yards/rush, Jones-Drew is still a key weapon for the Jags offense, according to Joe Mays.
"He's very capable," Mays said. "He's a hard-nosed runner. He has a low center of gravity so from watching film, I've seen him run through a ton of tacklers. We have to make sure not only one person but we get our eleven guys to the ball and we've got to wrap him up. Take him to the ground."
*3. Blitz patrol *
The second half of football games has a challenge for Keenum who draws increased blitz packages. Last week he was benched in the third quarter after three-consecutive three-and-outs and just 16 passing yards. Named the starting quarterback against Jacksonville just one day after the 28-23 loss to Oakland, Keenum has been intent on learning how to pick up the blitz more effectively.
"It's something I'm getting better at," Keenum said. "I watch film, specifically of that stuff, more than I watch other film. Just knowing and recognizing and being able to recognize it before it happens. When I don't recognize it before it happens, being able to react the right way is crucial."
This week, head coach Gary Kubiak praised Case Keenum's gunslinger instincts but wanted him to go through his progressions before leaving the pocket.
"Yeah, I think I can do a better job of trusting when those pressures that they are going to be picked up and recognizing that we have the right protection called and to the right pressure," Keenum said. "And still be able to stay in the pocket and knowing I don't have to drift, I don't have to move. I can make a better throw on a deeper route on time rather than trying to escape and get out of there, and totally have a busted play, if you will."
The Texans want and need to snap their eight-game losing streak, if not for a playoff berth, then for their own morale.
"It's been a long, tough season for us," Duane Brown said. "We've had a lot of adversity, a lot of unfortunate situations but you can always cure some of that with a win. And no better time to start than this week at home. We know Jacksonville's not gonna come in here and give us anything. We're looking forward to it."