Halfway through the 2013 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked like they might be on their way to having one of the worst years in NFL history. As the team enters Week 14, they’ve begun to turn their season around.
After starting off at 0-8, the Jaguars have won three of their last four games. On "Thursday Night Football," they’ll have another very winnable contest when they host the Houston Texans.
The Jaguars haven't exactly beaten the best the league has to offer. They’ve already defeated Houston once, to go along with victories over the Tennessee Titans the Cleveland Browns. Those three teams have a combined record of 11-25.
The Jaguars have certainly taken advantage of the ineptitude of their opponents. The Titans committed four turnovers in their matchup, and the Texans were unable to get anything going on offense.
Their most recent victory, though, may have been Jacksonville’s most complete win of the season. They rushed for over 100 yards, despite having the worst running attack in football. Quarterback Chad Henne threw for two touchdowns for the first time this year.
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Before their recent winning streak, the Jaguars were expected by some to go winless through their entire schedule. Now, they may no longer be viewed by their opponents as an automatic victory.
"When I came in I said to our guys: 'Some things may happen around you. Some things may happen to you. But what's really important is the things that happen in you,'" Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said via ESPN.com. "That's where I think this team has really gravitated around. It's not so much what happens to us. All those things can take place. [There is] a lot of noise out there, but it's more about where we're at inside and we're growing in that aspect.”
While expectations were low for the Jaguars in the preseason, the Texans were considered a team that could make a run towards the Super Bowl. Twelve games into the season, the Texans are by themselves with the worst record in the league at 2-10. In fact, they aren’t far from being winless. Houston won in each of the first two weeks by making last-second field goals. Since their second game, the Texans have continued to lose every week.
It hasn’t mattered if it’s been Case Keenum or Matt Schaub at the helm. While the team’s offense has improved since Keenum became the starter, the Texans have still remained in the losing column. Most of their games have been close, with their last six defeats coming by one score.
Even though the Jaguars are home and have the better record, they are still underdogs. The betting line at most Las Vegas casinos has Jacksonville getting three points. They haven’t been favored once in 2013.
Only the Chicago Bears have been worse against the spread than the Texans. They’ve covered just three times. However, they might have an advantage by playing on the road. The Jaguars are the only team that have lost all their matchups straight up and against the spread at home.
Betting Odds: Houston-3, 43
Prediction: Jacksonville 23, Houston 20