JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)The Jacksonville Jaguars are on a streak of streaks.
Last week, they lost at Philadelphia to extend their NFL record-skid of consecutive losses to NFC teams to 18. The week before, they ended an 18-game road losing streak with a victory at the Los Angeles Chargers. In Week 2, they won their eighth straight at home against Indianapolis.
Next up: Jacksonville (2-2) has a chance to end an eight-game slide against Houston (0-3-1) on Sunday. Winning would be another sign of progress for a franchise that’s endured double-digits losses in 10 of the last 11 seasons and finished last in the AFC South in each of the previous four years.
”I know in my mind that’s the deal, but listen, I don’t want to keep pouring that on all our guys,” first-year Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. ”This is a new team, new season, new opportunity for our guys. It may be something we talk about in small circles, but it’s not a key message for me this week.”
Pederson’s priority is getting his team to bounce back from a dismal performance at Philadelphia. Trevor Lawrence turned the ball over five times, including four fumbles, and Jacksonville’s defense allowed 210 yards rushing.
The one positive: Despite the struggles, Jacksonville had a chance to tie the game on its last drive before Lawrence’s final giveaway.
”We’re going to be OK. We’re going to be fine,” Pederson said. ”Our guys understand. It’s not something you have to sit there and browbeat them over the head. They understand. They know. The prized possession is the football, and we’ve got to take care of it.”
Houston, which held a plus-10 advantage in turnover margin during the eight-game series streak, could use a clean game Sunday. The Jaguars are tied for third in the NFL with nine takeaways.
Davis Mills has five touchdown passes and five turnovers in four games. He also has been sacked 11 times. He hasn’t been great, but he’s been far from the team’s only issue.
”As I see it right now, we’ve been in every game,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. ”We’ve had an opportunity. Glass half full. That’s what you’re looking at, opportunities right up until (the end) in different ways.”
Now, the Texans have a chance to run their winning streak against Jacksonville to nine.
”I think historically, at least for the most recent years, the Texans have always handled the Jags efficiently,” Mills said. ”We’ve gotten wins in the recent years and we want to keep it rolling in the same way.”
KISS THE RING
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will present former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli his ”ring of excellence” at halftime. Jaguars owner Shad Khan also will unveil new stadium signage to reflect Boselli’s achievement as the franchise’s first player in the Hall of Fame.
The game will include nearly 100 former players as part of the team’s ”legends weekend” and comes on the heels of the debut of ”71,” a documentary about Boselli’s life and career.
It’s fitting timing considering the Texans chose Boselli with the first pick in the 2002 expansion draft. Houston took on Boselli’s $6.8 million contract despite a lingering shoulder injury, and he never played a down for the Texans.
Houston rookie Dameon Pierce ranks 10th in the NFL with 313 yards rushing after a career-best 131 yards on the ground last week against the Chargers. His 75-yard touchdown run was the third-longest run in team history.
He is one of just five rookies since 2017 to run for at least 300 yards in the first four games of a season, joining Kareem Hunt (502), Dalvin Cook (354), Josh Jacobs (307) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (304).
The fourth-round pick from nearby Florida needs 62 yards rushing Sunday to join Arian Foster and Lamar Miller as the only players in Texans history to reach 375 yards rushing in the team’s first five games.
”I’m just trying to soak everything up and be a sponge,” Pierce said.
COOKING THE JAGS
Texans receiver Brandin Cooks has five 100-yard games and five touchdowns in six meetings with Jacksonville, capped by a 102-yard, two-touchdown performance last year.
Cooks is certainly aware of his success against Jacksonville but doesn’t believe it has any bearing this week.
”I don’t necessarily think about the past when you think of the Jacksonville Jaguars,” he said. ”When you turn on the film, they’re already showing that they’re a completely different team in a good way.”
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