Vandermeer's View: Crunch time in AFC South


All week long Bill O'Brien has been saying he "doesn't care" about Jacksonville's record. His point is that you prepare to face a team, not its won-loss ledger. And looking within some of the numbers and directly at their personnel, you can see that the Jaguars can be very dangerous.

Eight of their 13 games have been one-score affairs with several others that could have gone either way. Plus, they have a top five defense. They held Kansas City's offense to a 1-14 performance on third downs, yet lost. They held Denver to one for 13 in the same category yet lost.

The Jags biggest issue has been turnovers. They sit at the bottom of the NFL in turnover margin. Last week, they played clean but still lost thanks, in part, to 14 penalties. You'd love to say 'get takeaways' and the game is won. But that's easier said than done. This is no lay-up. The Texans are dented up with a lot of injuries.

As the number four passing defense, the Jags made it tough to throw the ball in the last match up as Houston netted just 99 yards through the air. But the ground game worked to the tune of 181 yards and that's where the game plan will start.

Sure, many of us were hoping the 2016 Texans would feature a record breaking aerial attack. It hasn't happened. The identity of this team is to run it, play good defense and special teams and carefully throw the rock to keep drives moving.

Houston is in the bottom five of the NFL in offensive yardage and scoring. But the running game is a top five attack and that's a great asset to have. Combined with the defense, if the Texans stay away from the turnover bug, they can be a tough team to beat.

A win is imperative to keep plowing toward the AFC South title. Make no mistake, winning the division is no small feat. And if any of your friends around the water cooler tell you it's the weakest division, hit them with this; It's got a better non-division record than the AFC North and NFC West. It's a game behind the NFC North in its head to head competition. Plus, your Texans have beaten two consensus top five power ranking teams in Kansas City and Detroit.

But none of that matters because this is the NFL, where the proof is in the playoffs. Sunday represents another big step on the way to a possible playoff berth. If the Texans get it, it's only their fourth post season appearance. And that opportunity is nothing to take for granted.

The Texans faced the Jaguars at EverBank Field in Week 10.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising