Could this game possibly mark the end of Minshew Mania? The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) will face the Houston Texans (5-3) in London Sunday, and much will be on the line for both teams.
The Jags have won two in a row, and Minshew has been excellent. He is coming off a victory against the New York Jets last week in which he threw for three touchdowns for the first time in his young career. He was 22-34 for 279 yards and three scores against a very bad Jets defense, but he played mistake-free football.
The Texans have just lost their defensive leader, J.J. Watt, for the season, and they’ll need to rely on their offense to keep up with Minshew. With Deshaun Jackson under center, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Here’s a breakdown of the game, with a look at betting lines and odds:
Watson has been nothing short of fantastic this season. He did, however, get kicked in the eye just before throwing a spectacular touchdown pass last week, and he was spotted at practice Friday wearing a visor. He told reporters this week that he wasn’t sure if he would be wearing a visor against the Jags, but he also noted he had played while wearing one before, and didn’t think it would hinder his performance at all. Still, it’s something that bears watching.
On defense, the Texans will be reeling from Watt’s absence. Houston is giving up 23.5 points a game, and the Jags are scoring close to 22 while gaining nearly 380 yards a game. The Texans will need to buckle down if they want to contain a very hot Minshew–who will be playing with something to prove this week.
After the Jaguars signed Super Bowl winning quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year $88 million contract this offseason, and Foles promptly broke his collarbone Week 1, the Jags’ season hit an unexpected snag. Enter Minshew. He has led the team capably in Foles’ absence. Minshew has 1,976 yards, 13 touchdowns, and two interceptions on the season, and he has kept his team close or ahead in most games despite being a rookie.
Foles is slated to return Week 11 after the Jags’ bye week next week. That said, this could theoretically be Minshew’s final game as a starter. He’ll likely play lights out in order to provide further evidence that he should be the team’s starting quarterback going forward.
The Jags are giving up over 234 yards passing and almost 343 yards a game to opposing offenses, and they’ll have their hands full with Watson–if he’s 100 percent.
Trends, Pick & Prediction
SPREAD: Jaguars +1.5
Odds Shark currently has the Jags winning by a projected score of 25-23, which sees Jacksonville winning, covering the spread and the total score going over 46.5 points.
Some relevant trends surrounding the game courtesy of Odds Shark:
• Houston is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games.
• The Texans are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games against Jacksonville.
• Houston is 9-2 SU in their last 11 games against Jacksonville.
• The total has gone OVER in 6 of Houston’s last 7 games on the road.
• The Jaguars are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.
• Jacksonville is 6-14 SU in their last 20 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 5 games against Houston.
• The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Jacksonville’s last 8 games at home.
We’re with Odds Shark on this one. Minshew has a great deal to play for, and London will provide a neutral setting for these two teams. Even with one eye, Watson should make this a shoot out, but it may not be enough to contain Minshew Mania.
Prediction: Jaguars 31 Texans 27