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Playoffs
11-26-2011, 12:29 AM
Three to Focus On: Texans @ Jaguars, Week 12
November 25th, 2011 | Author: Steve Palazzolo (http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/11/25/three-to-focus-on-texans-jaguars-week-12/)

The AFC South is the more wide open than it’s been in years due to an injury to a certain quarterback who plays in Indianapolis. Even so, no one said it would be easy to take home the division title in 2011. The Houston Texans were primed to take control but are now faced with the loss of starting QB Matt Schaub. As Khaled Elsayed pointed out here: Texans Turn to Leinart. While the Texans are sending backup QB Matt Leinart to the wolves, they may be as prepared as any team to handle such a switch due to their strong running game and improved defense.

When I previewed the last matchup between the Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, I cited some similarities between the teams, particularly their penchant for running the ball and playing strong defense. The main difference to this point has been the quarterback play. Schaub has helped the Texans become one of the best offensive teams in the league and a top contender in the AFC by playing to the strengths of the system. The Jaguars have been held down by their lack of a passing game and rookie QB Blaine Gabbert’s inexperience. It’s unfortunate for them, as the defense has made great strides after last year’s terrible season. This year they’ve been rewarded with a lot of low scoring losses like last week’s 14-10 defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns.

Will the Texans’ new quarterback hold them back too, or is the rest of the team strong enough to make the playoff push they’re primed for this season? Let’s take a look at three of the key matchups.

Entering the Leinart Era
I don’t want to dwell too much on Matt Leinart but the reality is he will be the focus of everyone’s attention this week as the Texans try to prove they are still one of the top teams in the AFC. He hasn’t taken many significant snaps in recent years and it will be interesting to see how the Texans game plan towards his strengths. He does not possess a rifle for an arm, so expect to see them feature tight ends Owen Daniels and Joel Dreesen. Daniels is yet to drop a pass this year and he is tied for sixth among tight ends in our Signature Stat Yards Per Route Run (YPRR) at 1.80. Leinart should also benefit from the return of one of the best wide receivers in the league in Andre Johnson (+6.5).

The tight ends will have to contend with two of the league’s best coverage linebackers in Daryl Smith and Paul Posluszny. Smith’s +7.3 coverage grade is tops among 4-3 OLBs while Posluszny’s +7.5 is third among inside linebackers. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, cornerback Derek Cox (+5.9) will have his breakout season cut short due to a knee injury and is headed to the injured reserve. He joins fellow starting CB Rashean Mathis (torn ACL) on the sidelines for the rest of the season. William Middleton (+7.3) has had a strong season in spot duty and recently signed Ashton Youboty will see a lot of snaps this week. Mathis had been matching up with the opponent’s top wide receiver at times, but this week we will probably see a combination of both Middleton and Youboty doing the honors against Johnson.

Jones-Drew vs. Texans Front Seven
It seems like a weekly discussion, but the Jaguars offense really does go through running back Maurice Jones-Drew as he’s responsible for 43.2% of their net yards in 2011. He’s coming off his two best games of the season and is now fourth in the league with 32 missed tackles. With Gabbert struggling to get the ball to wide receivers consistently, Jacksonville will also look to Jones-Drew in the screen game. On the ground, the Jaguars have gotten a boost in recent weeks by fullback Greg Jones’ return to his old self as a dominant lead blocker. With the Jaguars using so many two-back sets, Jones will be counted on to take out the Texans’ linebackers who are having a strong years stopping the run. Led by all-around great linebacker Brian Cushing (+7.8 run defense), the Texans also feature Demeco Ryans (+5.4 run defense) and Brooks Reed (+4.8 run defense) who have also been strong against the run. They have been helped immensely by first-round pick defensive end JJ Watt, our second-rated 3-4 defensive end against the run (+8.1) who is tied for second in stops with 21. If Watt and company do their job up front, they will force Gabbert to make throws in order to move the ball which will help them set the tempo of the game.

Texans’ Running Game vs. Jaguars Front Seven
Just as the Jaguars rely on Jones-Drew, the Texans’ offense starts with running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate. While Foster gets the majority of carries and most of the publicity, Tate may be outperforming him to this point. He ranks seventh in our Signature Elusive Rating for running backs at 50.5. Both Foster and Tate have had the benefit of running behind an outstanding offensive line, led by PFF favorite Chris Myers (+23.7) at center. Far and away our best pivot man, Myers has excelled at the point of attack as well as in attacking linebackers at the second level in the Texans’ zone blocking scheme. He provides great insight in his interview here: Interview with Chris Myers. (http://www.texanstalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87161)

For the Jaguars, the defensive line has been vital to their stout run defense. This week, they will be without two of their top run stoppers in defensive end Matt Roth (+12.5 run D) and defensive tackle Terrence Knighton (+4.4 run D) who may miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. DT CJ Mosley has struggled since replacing Knighton in Week 10 after flashing some ability in limited time earlier in the season. We may see more of Leger Douzable at both defensive tackle and left end in base sets and he’s made a few plays against the run in his backup role (+1.8 run D). Replacing Knighton may be most difficult as he had the best chance of neutralizing Myers and keeping linebackers Posluszny and Smith clean to get to the ball carrier. Just as the Texans want the ball in Gabbert’s hands, so too the Jaguars want to shut down the running game and see if Leinart can make enough plays throwing the football.


http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/11/25/three-to-focus-on-texans-jaguars-week-12/

ObsiWan
11-26-2011, 02:29 AM
Sounds like the Jags' defense is missing more than a couple of key pieces.
Thanks for posting.

Thorn
11-26-2011, 06:21 AM
A good read. I believe the Texans will take the Jags. It's Atlanta and the Bengles that worry me. I can't wait for Sunday.

b0ng
11-26-2011, 10:18 AM
Is Knighton for sure to be out?

SheTexan
11-26-2011, 10:27 AM
A good read. I believe the Texans will take the Jags. It's Atlanta and the Bengles that worry me. I can't wait for Sunday.

Same here Thorn! At least we play Atl here, that should be a plus for us. BUT, I don't like the idea of playing in Cincy! That one worries me the most.

thunderkyss
11-26-2011, 02:11 PM
Same here Thorn! At least we play Atl here, that should be a plus for us. BUT, I don't like the idea of playing in Cincy! That one worries me the most.

Again, Cincy looks like a paper tiger.

When they played Baltimore & Pittsburgh, they didn't look as "for real" as I thought they were.

Like Tampa Bay, where we thought they were a "real" team & turned out to be "chumps" I think Cincy will be the same.

Atlanta is the only game we've got (I think) against a "quality" team.

TejasTom
11-26-2011, 04:22 PM
A good read. I believe the Texans will take the Jags. It's Atlanta and the Bengles that worry me. I can't wait for Sunday.

I watched the Atlanta(23) - Tacks(17) last weekend and Atlanta just didn't look that scary.

I haven't watched Cincy this year.

Nawzer
11-26-2011, 08:40 PM
Tomorrow's game might be the most interesting Texans game of the year. I'm looking forward to it to seeing how the offense plays with Matt Leinart at QB. A lot of people are going to be scrutinizing tomorrow's game for better or worse.

silentassassin
11-26-2011, 09:41 PM
Is Knighton for sure to be out?

Yeah, I believe he's already been ruled out.

CloakNNNdagger
11-26-2011, 09:57 PM
Is Knighton for sure to be out?

Yeah, I believe he's already been ruled out.

Official as of yesterday

Terrance Knighton, DT Out Nov 25
Comment: Knighton (ankle) has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Texans, ESPN.com reports.

The Pencil Neck
11-27-2011, 12:13 AM
I've watched the Jags, Falcons, and Bengals the past few weeks.

The Jags don't worry me. But I want to see what ML can do.

The Falcons are streaky. They can play some dangerous football. If Turner gets going, he can be dangerous. If Ryan and his receivers click, they can be dangerous. But sometimes Turner seems to disappear and sometimes Ryans and his receivers just get out of synch. I thought Roddy White was going to burn it up this year but he's had some issues with drops from what I've seen.

The Bengals look better to me than the Falcons do. Their defense has made more of an impression than the Falcons D. Andy Dalton's been playing great but he is a rookie QB and he makes rookie QB mistakes. Sometimes I think the Bengals OC gets a little too cutesy and screws himself up. But IF Green is available, they're damned dangerous.

But I just don't know how our offense is going to look without Schaub. And that worries me to no end. With Schaub, I don't see these guys beating us. Seriously. Without Schaub... I don't know.

welsh texan
11-27-2011, 06:19 AM
Whilst Schaub's injury couldn't have been timed any better than going into the bye (giving Leinart extra time to prepare) it has been a cruel wait to see what we've got.

Its really important that we get the W in this one IMO, if we can sweep the division we go to the playoffs, that would leave our worst possible record 10-6 and the Tits would be an extra game back, meaning they'd have to win out apart from our game to even challenge for a wild card, we would of course hold the tie-breaker.

There are some tougher games left, Cincy, ATL, Ten, but getting Leinart off to a good start will be key to our chances of winning those games, and you couldn't have a nicer lead in than a 3-7 side who've lost both their starting CB's for the year, and their interior D-line for the game, that should soften up the run some, as Knighton played reasonably well against us earlier in the season.

Last time we played, the Jags were able to stack the box and minimise the run early in the game, Schaub was forced to take shot after shot downfield to loosen them up a bit, but with his bad shoulder his deep ball was off.

I believe that our D will give the O the chance to gameplan to set up stuff later in the game, so Leinart will have his chance to get his eye in as long as our D makes the stops.

The one thing not being mentioned this week? Our D has been on a steady improvement curve since adjusting to the loss of MW, a learning curve that began with really good play and seems to be getting stronger week on week.

The bye will have been Wade's chance to put a few extra little things in their, the players will be fresher coming off a week off, and should have a little extra knowledge of the little things they can do to help, I think we see a dominant D performance today allowing ML the security to let it come to him more comfortably.

hradhak
11-27-2011, 07:03 AM
Thanks for the post. I'm thinking with Schaub out, teams are going to line up 8 and 9 in the box. I don't expect Leinart to do what Schaub has done, but he's gotta be able to manage the game and keep the turnovers down. Our defense looks good when they are able to have long breaks in between drives. If our offense goes 3 and out a bunch, the defense is going to be gassed

Thorn
11-27-2011, 09:09 AM
Thanks for the post. I'm thinking with Schaub out, teams are going to line up 8 and 9 in the box. I don't expect Leinart to do what Schaub has done, but he's gotta be able to manage the game and keep the turnovers down. Our defense looks good when they are able to have long breaks in between drives. If our offense goes 3 and out a bunch, the defense is going to be gassed

All the defense has to do is stop the run, just like the Jags will try with us. But the Jags defense is dealing with a lot of injuries. It's hard to predict what will happen, but whatever does, I'm completely positive the Texans will win today.