The Jets play the 9-4 Texans this Saturday after the Texans lost for the first time in nine games, a 24-21 loss to the Colts. The Jets are fresh off their first divisional win this season, a 27-23 revenge win over the Bills, who trounced the Jets in their last clash. The Jets played tough defensive football last week, led by their pro-bowl safety Jamal Adams, who’s fumble recovery and return set the Jets up for an easy three points that saved their first quarter. The Jets are going to have to rely on more stout defensive football against the Texans- they’re without their leading rusher and pass-catcher.
When: Saturday, December 15th, 1:00 pm EST on NFL Network
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Series: 8th meeting, Jets lead series 5-2
Last Meeting: Texans 24, Jets 17
Last Jets Win: Jets 30, Texans 27 11/21/2010
Notable: Elijah McGuire is starting in the place of the Isaiah Crowell, who injured his toe last Sunday in Buffalo. McGuire started two games last year, rushing for 19 yards in losses to the Broncos and Patriots.
Head Coaches: Todd Bowles, 4th year, 24-37 record, Bill O’Brien, 5th year, 40-37 record
Last Week: Jets – Jets 27, Bills 23, Texans – Colts 24, Texans 21
Jets Injury Report: OUT – Isaiah Crowell (Toe), Jeremiah Attaochu (Concussion), Quincy Enunwa (Ankle) / QUESTIONABLE – Jordan Jenkins (Shoulder/Ankle), Trumaine Johnson (Foot), Kevin Pierre-Louis (Shoulder), Trenton Cannon (Toe)
Texans Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE – Keke Coutee (Hamstring), Zach Fulton (Hand), Andre Hal (Ankle)
Jets Rankings: Offense – POINTS PER GAME 20.8 (26th), TOTAL YARDS 3860 (30th), RUSHING YARDS 1381 (21st), PASSING YARDS 2479 (30th), 3RD DOWN 30.6% (32nd)
Defense – POINTS PER GAME 25.4 (22nd), TOTAL YARDS 4885 (23rd), RUSHING YARDS 1716 (27th), PASSING YARDS 3169 (16th), 3RD DOWN 33.7% (2nd)
Texans Rankings: Offense – POINTS PER GAME 24.8 (12th), TOTAL YARDS 4803 (13th), RUSHING YARDS 1778 (3rd), PASSING YARDS 3025 (19th), 3RD DOWN 39% (16th)
Defense – POINTS PER GAME 19.9 (5th), TOTAL YARDS 4534 (13th), RUSHING YARDS 1146 (5th) PASSING YARDS 3388 (24th), 3RD DOWN 38.7 (16th)
- DE J.J. Watt vs. LT Kelvin Beachum: The Jets offensive line had a great game in pass protection against the Bills, who failed to record a QB hit. J.J. Watt has 12.5 sacks on the season, and Beachum has struggled mightily at times. Watt has game breaking talent, and it could be on full display Saturday.
- LB Kevin Pierre-Louis/Neville Hewitt vs. RB Lamar Miller: Lamar Miller is quietly having a career season, and appears to be well on his way to his third 1,000 yard rushing season while averaging a solid 4.8 ypc. Kevin Pierre-Louis and Neville Hewitt split linebacking duties because Darron Lee is out for the season with a drug suspension. Pierre-Louis played great, and Hewitt played well with the exception of some coverage mistakes. The Texans may get a lead early and just look to run the ball.
- Jets WRs vs. Texans CB’s: The Jets have broken 200 yards passing only four times this season in 13 games. The Jets most reliable receiver, Quincy Enunwa, is out with an ankle. The Jets leading receiver this year in ypc is Terrelle Pryor with 16.8. 28 year old Jermaine Kearse has been nearly absent in a contract year. Robby Anderson leads the Jets with four receiving touchdowns, and looks to be the Jets only hope at receiver, unless Rishard Matthews or Andre Roberts can find their way onto the field.
- Jets – Elijah McGuire, 25, RB: While McGuire was quiet in two starts last year, nobody can deny the second year man runs with heart. In relief of the injured Isaiah Crowell, he scored the game winner on fourth down last week. He’s a talented receiver, and has the speed to damage if given a little room. If the Jets can get the run game going, it will take some of the pressure off Sam Darnold, and allow him to get more creative in the pass game.
- Texans – Demaryius Thomas, 87, WR: Demaryius Thomas has struggled this year, and the 31-year-old may not have much left in the tank. He was a premier receiver not too long ago, and he does already have an 100 yard game this year, as a member of the Denver Broncos in week five. Morris Claiborne has struggled in recent weeks, and Deshaun Watson may be more inclined to target Thomas while he’s on Claiborne rather than DeAndre Hopkins on Trumaine Johnson, who has had three interceptions in two weeks.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Winning the Turnover Battle: The Jets had forced one turnover in six weeks prior to last weeks three turnover performance. On the other side of the ball, the Jets have turned the ball over 33 times, good for fourth in the league. The Jets have won the turnover battle only four times, but are 3-1 in those games. The Texans don’t give the ball up much, but Avery Williamson is always looking for that strip.
Getting Pressure on Watson: Watson has been sacked 46 times, second most in the league. The Texans offensive line is not one of the stronger units in the league, but the Jets might be short their top edge rusher Jordan Jenkins. Leonard Williams’ 3 sacks sets him up just outside the top 100 players who have recorded a sack this year, but the team has produced a reasonable pass rush anyway. They must be in Watson’s face all day if they stand a chance to win.
Tight End Usage: Chris Herndon has the third most receiving yards on the team, and since the Jets are going to be without Quincy Enunwa, Herndon should be the second option. Bates needs to game-plan a way to get Herndon a reasonable share of the offense. The rookie has been one of the Jets more reliable options this year, and there’s no reason to not feed him the ball.
THE PICK: Texans 17, Jets 9 – The Texans are a playoff bound team, and if I had to name a dark-horse out of the AFC it would be this team. The Jets run defense has been atrocious, and unless Leonard Williams steps up his game big time it will be easy for them to just pound the football. The Jets will need a lot of help from defense and special teams if they want to win this game, because their injured offense has little chance of doing anything against this defense. Jason Myers will continue his MVP season.