PFF Preview: Jaguars @ Texans, Week 17
A year removed from a forgettable 2-14 campaign, the Houston Texans (8-7) continue their right to talk playoffs after defeating the Baltimore Ravens with Case Keenum at the controls, and will look to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12), while also doing a little scoreboard watching. Though the Texans need a little bit of help to squeeze into the postseason, their first order of business is taking care of a Jaguars squad still searching for their first road win and more than capable of spoiling their playoff hopes.
Back in Week 14 when these divisional foes squared up, the Texans were able to ride Arian Foster to a victory. Accumulating 127 yards on 24 carries, Foster picked up 92 yards after contact, while also breaking off a season-long run of 51 yards and forcing six missed tackles. With a +6.7 run grade (ninth), 729 yards after contact (third), and 51 missed tackles (tied for fourth) this season, the Texans should once again lean on Foster to carry the load, as Keenum makes just his second start of the season. Picking up 2.86 yards after contact (second among qualifying running backs), Foster will take his ninth rated Elusive Rating of 52.9 to the field this Sunday, in hopes of running the Texans straight into the playoffs.
For the Jaguars, they’ll rely on Red Bryant to limit Foster on early downs, in order to force Keenum into difficult third down situations. Although Bryant’s rush grade of -13.5 hasn’t exactly impressed, his team-high defensive run grade of +14.2 is close to doubling last year’s rating. Among all 4-3 defensive ends, Bryant currently ranks second, only former teammate Michael Bennett has earned a higher grade. With only two missed tackles and 14 stops, Bryant and his Run Stop Percentage of 5.2% (ranks near the middle of the pack) will attempt to slow down Foster and spoil the Texans playoff chances.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Telvin Smith – A fifth-round selection out of Florida State, the rookie leads the Jaguars with 46 stops.
Zane Beadles – Beadles has pass protected well (+6.1) but has struggled in run blocking (-8.9), opposite of his 2013 season with the Denver Broncos.
Blake Bortles – Bortles’ Accuracy Percentage of 70.9% ranks second among qualifying rookie quarterbacks.
DeAndre Hopkins – Picking up 2.44 Yards Per Route Run, Hopkins is tied for 10th among qualifying wide receivers.
Kareem Jackson – Since returning from injury in Week 14, Jackson has a coverage grade of +1.9.
John Simon – A Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP) of 8.8 is best among the Texans’ linebackers.
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