The Houston Texans can wrap up the AFC South with a win over Jacksonville in the NFL week 17 AFC free pick. The Texans still have a shot at a first round bye as well so they’ll have all hands on deck today. The Jaguars still have a stout defense and have won 2 of 4. They can play spoiler today and will likely be relaxed with a slew of changes coming in the offseason.
Jacksonville Will Have to Pass to Win
The Jaguars are in a tough spot in the NFL week 17 AFC free pick. Jacksonville’s modus operandi is running the ball but Houston’s rush defense is 4th in the league. The Jags are 30th in the league in points scored (16.1) so there’s a really good chance at a low scoring game at NRG Stadium (O/U 40.5). Blake Bortles gets the start behind a banged up offensive line that could be dominated by JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. What makes the Jacksonville rush attack a bit underwhelmed is that Leonard Fournette is still battling an ankle injury and is doubtful in this game. The Jags have been held to 13 points or less in 3 of the last 4.
The Jaguars are 7 point underdogs on the road today but their defense has a shot of keeping this contest close. Overall Jacksonville’s season has been very disappointing at 5-10 but they still have a top 5 defense in total yards. Jacksonville has given up a combined total of 23 points to 3 of the last 4 opponents including shutting out the Colts 6-0 in week 13. When these two teams met up in week 7, Houston scored a 20-7 win behind 141 yards rushing.
Blake Bortles is back as the Jaguars starting quarterback in what could be his final game with the franchise.https://t.co/ssujYKeYeU
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) December 30, 2018
If Houston Can Muster a Run Game They Should Get the W
Lamar Miller ran 22 times for 100 yards in the Texans win over Jacksonville earlier this year. The Jaguars are 2nd in the NFL vs. the pass so it will be Houston’s ground game that will likely have to carry them again today. Miller has been battling an ankle injury and missed last week’s game vs. Philadelphia. He’s ‘good to go’ today however. Deshaun Watson has thrown for 294+ and 4 TD/0 INT the last two weeks with Miller hobbled. Deandre Hopkins also has 19 catches the last two weeks so Jax’s Jalen Ramsey has a challenge in the NFL week 17 AFC free pick.
One of the reasons today could be a bit higher scoring than expected is because the Texans defense has struggled recently. Nick Foles threw for 471 and 4 TD to lead a 32-30 Philadelphia win over the Texans last week. Sam Darnold and the Jets had Houston on the ropes a week prior and Andrew Luck threw for 399 yards in a 24-21 Colts win at NRG in week 14. Even Baker Mayfield had 399 yards passing (albeit 3 INT) in Cleveland’s week 13 loss in Houston. Could Bortles have a great swan song today?
NFL Week 17 AFC Free Pick Betting
The Jaguars go out today with nothing to lose. Bortles may be gone, head coach Doug Marrone is likely out, and there’s bound to be plenty of roster changes for this underachieving team. Houston is already in the playoffs and although a division crown would be nice, they have eyes on a bigger prize. Expect the Jaguars to flirt with an outright victory today.
AFC Free Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +7