Texans-Jaguars II: Five matchups to watch

Texans-Jaguars II: Five matchups to watch
December 5, 2013, 11:15 am
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Palmer and McClain on tonight's Texans game

(USA Today Images)

These two teams met less than two weeks ago, so not a lot has changed. But the Texans (2-10) hope the outcome changes against the (3-9) Jaguars.

Though, many fans might prefer a loss, which would go a long way to helping their draft status, the Texans will try to snap their 10-game losing streak.

Anyway, here are five matchups to watch:

1. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Texans' defense

Jones-Drew looked like his old self in the last meeting. He ran for 84 yards and added 60 receiving yards.

He's been a big part of the Jaguars' resurgence and it'll take a team effort to stop him on Thursday night.

2. Derek Newton vs. Jason Babin

Babin didn't have a sack in the first meeting but he proved to be a handful for Newton. The Jaguars lined Babin up against the right tackle for a good part of that game and they'll probably do it again on Thursday.

3. Cecil Shorts III vs. Brice McCain

Shorts caught eight balls for 71 yards against the Texans 10 days ago and he didn't do it on the outside.

With Kareem Jackson back on the outside, look for the Jaguars to get Shorts going against McCain. That will be his best bet to make some plays.

4. Ben Tate vs. Paul Posluszny

Tate was awful against the Jags the first time around. He ran seven times for 1 yard.

But he rebounded greatly against the Patriots, rushing for over 100 yards and three scores. If he has that kind of game on Thursday, the Texans can control the clock and win big.

5. Case Keenum vs. the world

Keenum has shown flashes during his starting stretch but hasn't put together a great game and still doesn't have a win.

It looks like he's regressed, but in fact, teams have just adjusted and Keenum hasn't done it back.

He was awful in the first game against the Jaguars, throwing for just 169 yards and an interception. He's not just playing to get a win this year anymore, he's playing to try to make a future in the NFL, where at times he's appeared to not belong.

5a. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Cincinnati

Bridgewater's Louisville Cardinals take on the Bearcats at 6:30 p.m. CT. Bridgewater is one of the favorites to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He might be a Texan (or a Jaguar) next year.