The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars are the two teams to most recently have won the AFC South division in the NFL. The Jaguars finished the 2017 season with an appearance in the AFC Championship, while the Texans took the division in 2018, only to be knocked out by divisional foe Indianapolis in the wildcard round. These teams are two of the newest members of the NFL, so their history is relatively short. However, due to their recency, they will forever be locked together as they appeared on the NFL schedule just seven years apart from one another.
History of Texans vs. Jaguars Rivalry
The first meeting between these two teams was highly competitive and really laid the groundwork for the closeness of the rivalry for the majority of the 2000’s. In the inaugural game, a Kris Brown field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game gave the Texans the win.
In 2004, the Texans used some major defense to sweep the Jaguars. The Texans kept Byron Leftwich and the Jaguars out of the end zone in both games and swept the season series by a total score of 41-6. The era from 2005 until about 2015 was the decade of superstars for both teams. The emergence of Andre Johnson for the Texans and Maurice Jones-Drew for the Jaguars led this rivalry to have some tremendous individual performances over the next decade.
Another first for Houston occurred in 2008, six years after their creation. On December 1, 2008, the Texans met the Jaguars in their first Monday Night Football appearance. Steve Slaton ran wild, racking up 130 yards and scoring twice in a game dominated by the Texans.
At the turn of the decade, this series became increasingly dominated by the Texans. Houston had a solid core of players they could rely on, with Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and JJ Watt providing the bulk of production. Jacksonville never really found a constant presence at quarterback after the Mark Brunell, Byron Leftwich, and David Garrard era, so points were at a premium for the Jaguars during this time period. Overall, this series has been plagued by poor quarterback play, although there have been some tremendous individual performances throughout the years.
As with all rivalries, they tend to heat up when both teams are playing good football or the expectations are high. That is what has happened over the past two seasons. Jacksonville swept the Texans in 2017 and ended up losing the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots. The Texans won the division while sweeping the Jaguars in 2018, before bowing out in the wild card round. Both teams, along with other divisional rivals Indianapolis and Tennessee, certainly have expectations to be on top of the division, so it is fair to say that right now the rivalry may be at its peak.
Head to Head Analysis of Texans vs. Jaguars
This was a highly competitive series in the early years. Houston’s first season of competition was 2002, and the two teams each won nine of the first eighteen matchups with one another. However, the rivalry started turning in the Texans’ favor during the 2011 season. Houston has won 11 of the 15 contests since then, including seven of the past nine games. But Houston’s domination of Jacksonville came to a brief halt in 2017, before Houston’s win this past October. The Jaguars struggle in Houston but have a one-game winning streak in Space City.
This rivalry only dates back to 2002, the first season of Houston existing. As fledgling franchises usually struggle early, it was surprising to see the Texans pull off a win in their first game against Jacksonville. Houston won that game 21-19, but then the rest of the 2000’s were largely back and forth. From 2002 to 2009, neither the Texans or the Jags won more than two in a row against the other, and over half the contests were decided by a touchdown or less.
Since the turn of the decade, and especially since 2011, the Texans have completely dominated the Jaguars. Houston has won twelve of sixteen in that time period. In that span, Houston has winning streaks of five and six games, separated by only two wins by Jacksonville. Other than the two wins by Jacksonville over Houston in their historic 2017 season, the Jaguars have not beaten Houston since 2013.
Overall, Houston leads the series in Jacksonville 9-8 while posting a 12-5 record at home. The Texans have outscored the Jaguars 747-678 in head to head matchups. The two franchises have each split a pair of overtime games and have never met in the postseason.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Texans vs. Jaguars
While these two teams have never met in the postseason, they both are without a Super Bowl. The Texans have played in just 8 postseason games, with 3 wins under their belt. Their most recent playoff win was over the Raiders back in 2016. For Jacksonville, they have played in 14 postseason games, with half of them as wins. The Jaguars have never played in the Super Bowl, but got to the AFC title game in 2018, only to lose to the Patriots.
Texans vs. Jaguars Rivalry Outlook
Over the past two years, this has been an up and down series and an up and down division. Any of the four teams in the AFC South could win the division next year and there would be little surprise from anyone. While the AFC South may not be the best division in football, it surely contains the most competitive balance.
The Jaguars desperately need to figure out their quarterback situation or they will waste the prime years of a tremendous defensive unit. The 2019 offseason will really tell the tale of which direction this team is going to go. With the competitiveness of the division, one move or one or two wins could be the difference between the playoffs and the cellar in the AFC South.
Houston will look to build off of their 2018-2019 division title. The biggest thing for the Texans is to find some consistency. This is a team that could beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given Sunday. If they can find that maturity, then they could remain on top for years to come.