1:00 PM ET, November 24, 2013
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Mired in a franchise-worst eight-game skid, the Texans hope to avoid sharing a spot in the division basement with the visiting Jaguars by recording a sixth consecutive victory in the series Sunday.
Houston (2-8) went 22-10 the last two seasons and set its sights on a third straight division title before a 30-9 loss at Baltimore in Week 3 began what's been one of the most frustrating stretches in team history.
While trying to overcome the loss of stars Brian Cushing and Arian Foster to season-ending injuries, the Texans emotionally dealt with the mini-stroke suffered by coach Gary Kubiak earlier this month.
However, Kubiak is entertaining questions about his job security after Sunday's 28-23 home loss to Oakland generated more concern. Kubiak benched quarterback Case Keenum, Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson argued on the sideline after a late failed fourth-down pass attempt and running back Ben Tate called out some fans on a radio show for booing during the game.
"I could feel a lot better. I know that," said Kubiak, who hopes to coach from the sideline and not the press box Sunday. "I'm just one of many people. Every player, every coach, it has been very difficult.
"It's tough on the organization, everybody, our fans. I feel a lot like everybody else, but I'm the guy that has got to get in there and figure out a way for us to work through it and that's what I'm trying to do."
Kubiak insists he's not lost his team.
"I don't see anybody fraying," he said. "I'm honest with them with where we're at and what we do every day. We're in there working our tails off, just trying to work our way out of this."
Keenum will be back under center for a fifth straight start. He threw for 170 yards with a touchdown and his first interception but was pulled after Houston punted on its first three drives of the second half.
"I think I was really thinking of him to be honest with you," Kubiak said. "I've been in this league a long time and dealt with a lot of quarterbacks. I'm trying to develop one right now. Right or wrong, I made that decision because of the situation I thought I was fixing to put a young player in."
Though the quarterback position has played a part, it's not the only reason Houston has dropped four straight by five or fewer points or been outscored 121-32 after the first half during the eight-game slide.
Tate has rushed for at least 81 yards in two of the last three games but has one of Houston's two rushing TDs on the season. Only Cleveland has fewer with one.
The defense ranks first in the NFL in total yards allowed (286.1 per game) and passing yards (167.5), but is 28th in scoring at 27.6 points per game. Some of that stems from allowing a league-high 96 points off turnovers.
Despite those issues, Houston would appear to have a solid chance to end its misery against Jacksonville (1-9).
The Texans have averaged 29.6 points during a five-game winning streak in the series. Johnson set career highs with 14 receptions and 273 receiving yards in the last meeting, a 43-37 overtime win in Houston last November. Tate ran 12 times for 74 yards and two TDs in a 27-7 win at Jacksonville in 2012.
After snapping a 13-game skid with a 29-27 win at Tennessee on Nov. 10, the Jaguars allowed Carson Palmer to throw for 419 yards and two TDs in a 27-14 home loss to Arizona last Sunday.
Though Jacksonville scored two touchdowns -- one more than it had in its first four home games combined -- it was held to 274 total yards, including a season-low 32 on the ground. The Jaguars are last in the league averaging 12.9 points, 278.0 total yards and 61.7 rushing yards per contest.
Maurice Jones-Drew has run for a TD in two straight games but gained 64 yards on 35 carries in those contests. However, he's averaged 4.8 yards per carry and rushed for eight TDs in his last nine versus Houston.
The Texans allowed Oakland backup and ex-Jaguar Rashad Jennings to gain 150 yards on 22 attempts last weekend.
Jacksonville hopes to get Cecil Shorts more involved after he was held to two receptions in each of the last two games. He voiced his displeasure after being targeted once through the first three quarters and finishing with 22 receiving yards versus Arizona. Shorts, however, insists he's not trying to create any controversy.
"I just want to help my team get better and improve," he said. "I can do that by getting the ball."
Shorts, who ranked fourth in the NFL with 87 targets through Week 9, caught three passes for 81 yards and a score at Houston in 2012.
The Jaguars hope to have star linebacker Paul Posluszny back after he missed last weekend with a concussion.
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|Avg Points Allowed||29.5||26.3|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||JAX|
|Rush Yds Allowed||JAX|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Houston leads 13-11|
|Nov 18, 2012||JAX 37, @HOU 43|
|Sep 16, 2012||JAX 7, HOU 27|
|Nov 27, 2011||JAX 13, HOU 20|
|Oct 30, 2011||JAX 14, @HOU 24|
|Jan 2, 2011||JAX 17, @HOU 34|
|Nov 14, 2010||JAX 31, HOU 24|
|Dec 6, 2009||JAX 23, HOU 18|
|Sep 27, 2009||JAX 31, @HOU 24|
|Dec 1, 2008||JAX 17, @HOU 30|
|Sep 28, 2008||JAX 30, HOU 27|
|Dec 30, 2007||JAX 28, @HOU 42|
|Oct 14, 2007||JAX 37, HOU 17|
|Nov 12, 2006||JAX 10, HOU 13|
|Oct 22, 2006||JAX 7, @HOU 27|
|Dec 24, 2005||JAX 38, @HOU 20|
|Nov 6, 2005||JAX 21, HOU 14|
|Dec 26, 2004||JAX 0, HOU 21|
|Oct 31, 2004||JAX 6, @HOU 20|
|Dec 7, 2003||JAX 27, HOU 0|
|Sep 28, 2003||JAX 20, @HOU 24|
|Nov 17, 2002||JAX 24, @HOU 21|
|Oct 27, 2002||JAX 19, HOU 21|
In addition to scoring the game's only touchdown, Maurice Jones-Drew posted season highs with 84 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards Sunday against the Texans. Jones-Drew averaged 7.2 yards per touch, more than doubling his 3.4 average through his first nine games.
Andre Johnson caught 2-of-6 targets for 36 yards, all season-low totals, and had his first drop of the season in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars. Johnson had caught 72 of his 108 targets entering Sunday without a drop, the only wide receiver among 34 with at least 40 catches to not have a drop.
ESPN Stats & Information