Texans at Jaguars -- Week 2
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla. (grass, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Spread: Texans by 7
Forecast: Thirty percent chance of rain; projected kickoff temperature: low-80s.
2012 records: Jaguars (Overall: 0-1, AFC South: 0-0); Texans (Overall: 1-0, AFC South: 0-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 17, 2011: Texans 20, Jaguars 13; October 30, 2011: Texans 24, Jaguars 14. Series record: Texans hold an 11-9 edge.
What matters: The Jaguars lost a 26-23 stunner in overtime at Minnesota last week. There will be no time to regroup and feel sorry for Jacksonville with the Texans, a team favored to win the AFC South, coming to town. There were plenty of positives to build on from the season-opening loss. QB Blaine Gabbert showed improvement in the first game of his second season, completing 23 of 39 passes (58.9 percent) for 260 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The offensive line, despite a rash of injuries, also proved it can protect Gabbert, only giving up two sacks to the Vikings, a team that led the NFL in sacks in 2011.
Who matters: RB Maurice Jones-Drew got his full return a week earlier than many expected. He went into the Minnesota game as the No. 2 RB, but he got 19 carries for 77 yards after RB Rashad Jennings (knee) left the game early. Jennings is out this week, meaning Jones-Drew will carry the load against the Texans. Nobody doubts his ability, but will he be able to carry the ball 25 times or more effectively after missing all of training camp? That remains to be seen, but the Jaguars need him to get up to speed quickly if they want to avoid an 0-2 start.
Key matchups: With CB Derek Cox (hamstring) still questionable, the task of covering star Texans WR Andre Johnson could fall to CB Aaron Ross. Johnson had a strong opening game with eight receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown. The Jaguars struggled in the secondary at times in the opener, allowing Minnesota QB Christian Ponder to complete 74 percent of his passes.
Injuries of note: The O-line is hurting. G Eben Britton is questionable, and T Cameron Bradfield (ankle) is out. CB Derek Cox (hamstring) missed Week 1, and he is questionable this week. RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is officially out. LB Daryl Smith (groin) has also been ruled out officially.
Inside stuff: Punters don’t get a lot of glory, but Jaguars rookie P Bryan Anger put on a show in Minnesota, averaging 53.5 yards per punt. If he continues punting like that, the Jaguars could have a huge field position advantage in 2012.
Stat you should know: Gabbert hit eight different receivers last week against Minnesota. No individual had more than five receptions. He showed maturity in getting the ball to RBs and TEs instead of taking sacks or forcing throws that weren’t there.
Looking ahead: The Jaguars don’t need to fall into an 0-2 hole, but if they do, they’ll have a decent chance to get their first win at Indianapolis next week. Following that, they host Cincinnati and Chicago.
Prediction: Texans 31, Jaguars 21
For more news and analysis of the Jaguars, follow Daniel Lewis @CBSJags