The line between moral victory and demoralizing loss can be fine in the NFL, but the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars firmly were on opposite sides of it in Week 1. The AFC South rivals aim to rebound from season-opening losses when they square off Sunday in Houston.
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The Texans squandered a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback on Monday as they lost 30-28 at New Orleans on a last-second field goal. Will Lutz's 58-yard kick came after Houston had gone 75 yards on two plays to take the lead with 37 seconds left. The Jaguars, on the other hand, were encouraged by their second-half surge in a 40-26 loss to Kansas City, especially considering rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew replaced injured starter Nick Foles and impressed in his NFL debut. "He's one of the few guys I've been around who can go from the classroom and really take it right onto the field," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone told reporters. "The other day was an unbelievable indication of that. I don't know how many people - especially rookies - can go out not having done anything during the week and play like that."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Houston -9.5. O/U: 43.5
ABOUT THE JAGUARS (0-1): Foles is out until at least Week 11 with a broken collarbone, but Jacksonville has confidence in Minshew, who completed his first 13 passes and finished 22-of-25 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his debut. Minshew benefits from a workhorse back in Leonard Fournette and a receiving corps that showed off its newfound depth against the Chiefs. Jacksonville's defense was humbled by Kansas City's high-powered attack, allowing 491 total yards, and will have to do a better job of pressuring the quarterback against another high-powered offense.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (0-1): Houston has a dynamic duo in the passing game with quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but the newly constructed backfield tandem also got the job done last week. Carlos Hyde rushed for 83 yards just nine days after being acquired from Kansas City and Duke Johnson recorded 90 yards from scrimmage in his debut for the Texans. The defense surrendered 510 total yards to the Saints and had a hard time getting pressure in the backfield, recording just one sack and no tackles for loss.
1. Hopkins has made seven or more catches in four straight home games against the Jaguars, including 12 grabs for 147 yards in the most recent meeting.
2. Jacksonville DE Calais Campbell has registered 7.5 sacks in his last four games against Houston.
3. Texans DE J.J. Watt has notched 16 sacks versus the Jagaurs, his second-highest total against any opponent.