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The final full month of the 2023 NFL Season is approaching with one final set of games after November. Kicking off Sunday’s huge set of games is the pivotal battle in the AFC South between the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) visiting the NFL’s surprise team of the year in the Houston Texans (6-4). This game will have huge implications for not only the division but for the entire AFC playoffs.
This game is a rematch from the Texans' 37-17 road win over the Jaguars in week three. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud outperformed Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence as he nearly perfect game throwing for two touchdowns. The Jaguars outgained the Texans in total yards accounting for 404-to-366.
Jacksonville started the season with a divisional win over the Indianapolis Colts 31-21 in week one, but lost their next two games at home against the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston. The Jaguars rebounded by winning five consecutive games until they showed their limitations as a playoff team in the 34-3 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week 10. Jacksonville is coming off a 34-14 home win over the Tennessee Titans.
Houston started the season with two tough losses to the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts. They went on to win three of their next five games, but the two losses at the Atlanta Falcons and at the Carolina Panthers stood out the most. After the loss to the Panthers, something in the Texans clicked as the offense and defense collectively played better by winning their last three games.
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Not only is Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud a serious contender for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, he is a serious candidate for the NFL's league MVP. Through 10 games this season, Stroud has completed 223-of-355 of his passes for 2,962 yards (for an average of 296.2 yards per game), 17 touchdowns, only five interceptions, a quarterback rating of 99.3 and a QBR of 60.7.
Stroud has passed for over 273 yards in six of the ten games played. He is on a serious stretch in the last three games by passing for 470 yards against Tampa Bay, 356 yards against Cincinnati, and 336 yards against Arizona last week.
The Texans are taking on a Jaguars' defense that is ranked 29th in the league in passing yards allowed per game (254.4). The last time Houston and Jacksonville met on the field, Stroud passed for 280 yards. That was before Stroud became one of the top passers in the league.
This is a pivotal game for the Jacksonville Jaguars which means they will use every key player to get ahead of the Houston Texans. One key player that the Jaguars will look to rely on is wide receiver Christian Kirk, who has been one of the most consistent wide receivers for the Jaguars.
In ten games for the Jaguars this season, Kirk has caught 52 receptions for 672 yards and three touchdowns.
He has accounted for 57 or more receiving yards in five games this season. In the four games where he has been targeted more than six times, Kirk has accounted for 75 or more receiving yards.
If he is one of the top targets for Lawrence, Kirk is going to have a solid performance. The Texans' defense is ranked 25th in the league in passing yards allowed per game (241.4). Kirk is a player who will be targeted due to the lack of reliable top receivers and the Texans’ soft secondary.
The Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars have the 10th and 11th-ranked scoring offenses in the league, respectively. Both teams are not highly efficient in scoring in the first quarter.
The Texans have scored touchdowns in two of the three games, but they were the first scoring team of the touchdown in only these games. That game was in the week nine win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jaguars have only scored one touchdown in the first quarter in any of their last three games. In weeks nine and ten, the Jaguars faced the highly efficient defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. In last week's win over the Tennessee Titans, the Jaguars were the only team that scored in the first quarter.
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What: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
When: Sunday, November 26, 1:00 PM
How to Watch: CBS, YouTube TV, NFL Network
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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