Week 9 Preview: Texans @ Jaguars

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Let’s be honest about a few things here:

— Neither of these teams are good. The Texans have a credible pass offense, so they are 1/4th of the way to a good team. Winning against the Jaguars would change nothing even if the Jaguars were healthy, let alone winning against them with “Jake Luton” as the starting quarterback.

— The only thing I care about for the rest of this season is how the offense looks without David Johnson involved and how new players on the defense look. I’m going to enjoy the good players being good, of course — Deshaun bombs and what not — but there’s not a lot of new ground in that. To that end, I am going to be hoping quite hard that Jon Greenard is involved in the game even though it feels like a big joke to Romeo Crennel to even play him and the linebackers coach literally insinuated Greenard was paying media to ask about him during the bye week. There’s no indication from Tim Kelly that anything with David Johnson will change. I am about five more runs up the middle to nowhere away from just clipping other things that are on TV on Sunday and passing them off as Johnson highlights. Maybe he’ll run for 100 yards against the Jaguars! Wow! What a day that would be for everyone!

— The fact that this game is even going to be played is an indictment on how the money matters much more than anything else here. The NFL is watching COVID-19 spike yet again and doing nothing about it. It’s going to be harder and harder to get these games in. The Texans cannot do anything about the environment they are a part of, but a disease that you can test positive for five or seven days after exposure is never going to be something that a football team can adequately deal with under the current protocols.

The 49ers-Packers prime time game was an abomination last night as the 49ers were decimated by the virus and the Packers had somebody test positive after the game who played. Given the incubation patterns of this virus, the Texans should not expect to play this game without any possibility of not spreading the virus. What the NFL’s rules are saying is: OK, but there’s money to be made here. The players actually get some of that money, unlike in college, which is why these games are still getting played.

Now, okay, you might say, some teams have a reason to keep playing games: We need to seed the playoffs. These two teams, though, do not. Nothing they do matters. They have a combined playoff odds chance of 3.0% despite seven different teams being invited to the AFC playoff picture. The Texans don’t even have picks for their fans to root for a tank for. There’s literally nothing at stake here for the rest of their season. The people who watch this game are only here to watch football because they love football; that’s it.

So … I’m not going to write a full and detailed preview of this game. There’s no reason to get detailed about this. I don’t work in PR. I’ll be there on Sunday. I’ll clip it. We’ll write about what happened and talk about what occurred — maybe some with younger players if we’re allowed to, maybe just depressing things if the game trends in that direction — but what the Texans do now doesn’t impact things one way or another. It doesn’t matter if their play-action rate is down. It doesn’t matter if they run Johnson up the middle three times or 15. It doesn’t matter if they win — it will be quite a fiasco if they lose, but it still won’t matter. The optimistic energy of stacking one win at a time is just empty, hollow wording at 1-6. I will predict a Texans win by the scoreline of: Houston 26, Jacksonville 10. Everybody will talk about how much better they feel if they win. It won’t really matter.


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