On the way out, presentation is key. There are too many players on this team who need to 'put something good on tape' to dismiss the Texans-Jags game as unimportant. Plus, the entire organization could use a taste of the elixir that keeps everyone in this business going: winning.
I know people don't like the term 'spoiler.' I'm not a big fan of it myself. It means you're not in the race. And while we're on that subject – I never take being in the postseason for granted.
After Watson went down, we all realized it was going to be tough. But if the Texans had next-man-upped their way into the playoffs, it would have been a terrific achievement. And after that, you never know. Life is short folks, careers are short. Those AFC South titles they earned in '15 and '16 weren't ring-worthy but we'll take them every time over playing 'spoiler.'
Along the lines of ruining other people's plans. The Texans can't keep the Jags out of the postseason. But they can at least postpone the party. This is the best Jags team in a decade. In 2007 they beat the Steelers twice, in Pittsburgh, including an improbable playoff win. They've done it once this season. And Jacksonville experts are saying they have the defense to go all the way if the offense doesn't cough up the ball.
Blake Bortles is benefitting from a great running game and the top defense in the league. Running the ball well has been huge for this team. Here's an example you can relate to - Last week against Seattle, with the lead and 1:55 on the clock, faced with a 3rd-and-11, the Jags handed off to Leonard Fournette.
This sounds a lot like the Texans against the Seahawks in Week 8. Only the Texans had 3rd-and-4 and got stopped. While Fournette ran for 13 yards and killed the clock, while everyone in the Western Hemisphere knew he was getting the rock. It's ok to question play calling when it doesn't work, but when the players and coaches tell us execution is a larger part of the deal, let's take that into consideration, shall we?
I digress. Bortles is having an effective year because he's cut down on the turnovers. He has six fewer than he did that this point in 2015, when he threw 35 touchdown passes. Everyone raved at that number at the time. He only has 16 TD passes to date. But that doesn't matter when your defense is taking the ball away and preventing scoring better than anyone in the league.
Alfred Blue is back. That could be a nice boost. The Jags do show some signs of giving up some yards against the run. Yet it's T.J. Yates, playing in the place where he made his NFL debut in 2011, who has to shine if the Texans are going to go home happy. And right now, a win of any kind, would feel like an early Christmas gift.