KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, NRG Stadium, Houston. TV: CBS, Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein.
SERIES HISTORY: 30th regular-season meeting. Texans lead the series, 18-11. Houston has won the last five meetings, including a 24-21 decision on Nov. 13 in Jacksonville.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Smash-mouth football is back in vogue with the Texans, a run-first approach built around a punishing offensive line and the elusiveness of running back Lamar Miller.
A strategy born partly out of necessity due to the Texans' foundering, 30th-ranked passing game and also the strength of their personnel, the Texans have adopted an old-school offensive game plan during an era defined by space-age passing attacks.
Although defenses know the Texans plan to run the football considering that quarterback Brock Osweiler has thrown 14 interceptions and has just 14 touchdown passes, they still haven't been able to stop them. The Texans ran for 181 yards during their win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars are 2-11 and in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. Pride is the only thing left to play for the final three weeks. It's a matter of overcoming the frustrations that continue to mount with each loss.
It's clear that Jacksonville has lost nearly all confidence in its ability to throw the ball deep. The Jaguars have three pass completions of at least 40 yards this year and are tied with Tampa Bay and Houston for the fewest such pass plays in the league this year. So don't look for either team to throw the long ball on a consistent basis. Instead, the Jaguars will look for short throws on slants across the middle to Allen Robinson or one of the tight ends.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Texans RBs Lamar Miller and Akeem Hunt vs. Jaguars LBs Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith. Miller and Hunt won the battle against Posluszny and Smith five weeks ago when the teams met in Jacksonville. Miller (85 yards) and Hunt (52) combined for 135 yards on 23 carries. Add in another 46 yards from other Houston players and the Texans finished with 181 yards on the ground. With the Jaguars limiting Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler to just 99 yards, the Houston running game took over. Posluszny and Smith, the Jaguars' two leading tacklers, combined for just 11 tackles in the first meeting. The two will need to do a much better job of controlling the Texans' running game if the Jaguars hope to end their losing streak.
--Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey. Hopkins was limited to five catches for 48 yards in the first meeting with Jacksonville. Ramsey is a big, strong, fast, physical rookie.
SUNDAY TEAM REPORT:
--Questionable: WR Shane Wynn (hamstring)
--Questionable: RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), CB Johnathan Joseph (ribs), LB Whitney Mercilus (back)
Jaguars WR Allen Robinson. Surely Robinson can't have a fifth consecutive low-production game, can he? That's what Jaguars fans are asking after Robinson was held to a season-low once catch last week against Minnesota. That's happened just three other times in his three seasons with the Jaguars -- twice last year and once in 2014. What else is concerning for last year's Pro Bowl player is that he has been held to less than 35 yards five times this season, including each of his last four games. In the last four contests, Robinson has caught nine passes for 70 yards. A year ago, Robinson had 10 games where he totaled more than 70 receiving yards. The good news: Robinson's best game this season was in the first matchup with Houston, when he latched on to nine catches for 107 yards and a TD.
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles passed for 265 yards and 2 TDs in last meeting. He has seven passing TDs and one interception in the past three division games. Since 2015, he has 56 passing TDs, tied for fifth in the NFL.
Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon had 90 scrimmage yards last week. He's one of seven players in the AFC with 1,000 rushing yards (1,172) and 500 receiving yards (557) since 2015.
Texans QB Brock Osweiler had two passing TDs in the last meeting and is 4-0 as a starter vs. the division in 2016.
Texans RB Lamar Miller has 421 rushing yards and three TDs (two rushing) in the past four games against the division. He ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,010 rushing yards.
Houston RB Jonathan Grimes had two TDs in the home meeting last year.
Last week's win at Indianapolis puts the Texans in the driver's seat for a second straight AFC South title. They have a manageable schedule leading up to the season finale at Tennessee. It's hard to see a scenario in which the Jaguars can win this one, short of the Texans giving it to them with a plethora of mistakes.
OUR PICK: Texans, 23-13.