THE FRIDAY CODY STOOTS 6 PACK

Jaguars are vulnerable, but can Texans take advantage?

The Jags D has not been as dominant this year. Jacksonvillejaguars.com

It's the Friday Stoots 6-Pack on SportsMap with plenty to get you ready for the NFL weekend. 

1. Brock Osweiler leads the Dolphins this week yet again with Ryan Tannehill injured. This week the Lions off a bye get Brock and company. He had some great stats and some very Osweilerian plays against the Bears in the overtime win last week. With injuries mounting and Osweiler's success, the Dolphins could be looking to move on from the former Texas A&M product. Not for Brock, goodness no. But for a rookie or other available free agent. As for Brock, just stay healthy so Thursday Night Football we get the Osweiler return game we were robbed of last year. 

2. The Bears might be in for a rude awakening this week. They've had a nice season but second-year quarterback against the greatest coach in NFL history is a recipe for disaster. Khalil Mack is great but there should be an expectation the Patriots do to him as they do with all great defenders: neutralize. It will be an interesting one for Chicago, who went from rebuilding to ready with the addition of Mack but have had two disappointing losses. A nice measuring stick for the Bears and a good challenge for the Patriots. 

3. There might be three games with eye-popping scores Sunday. Browns-Buccaneers has shootout written all over it with the Browns being inconsistent on defense and offense the Buccaneers terrible defense is the recipe to get going. Jameis Winston played his tail off and he's trying to stick as the starter so he's motivated to sling it and their run game stinks. The Ravens have put up big numbers and the Saints bring a rested but bad defense. Brees and Flacco is an offensive showcase in today's NFL. Then Sunday Night Football features "Showtime" Patrick Mahomes and his team's awful defense against Andy Dalton and the surprisingly good Cincinnati offense. 

4. The Texans might have yet another new-look offensive line on Sunday. Guard Zach Fulton has been starting at the right guard spot but an ankle injury has sidelined him this week. If he can't play against the Jaguars it could be Greg Mancz at guard. The Jaguars haven't had the success of last year rushing the passer but they're still a talented bunch. Yet another moving part for the Texans offensive line could spell doom for a team that has allowed almost the most sacks and by far the most quarterback hits in the NFL.

5. Jacksonville is way behind statistically from last year. Their interceptions are way down, just three this year and 25 spots in the NFL ranking off their second-place finish last year. They are way down on sacks too. The Jaguars were second last season and find themselves 18th this season. They have actually had success in not giving up yards but their rush defense isn't great. The Texans could use the balance to help protect Watson and get the offense going. 

6. If the NFL is truly a quarterback league why aren't we all picking the Texans to win this game? Deshaun Watson, on his worst day, is so much better than Blake Bortles. The Jaguars wideouts pale in comparison to the Texans pass catchers. The rushing advantage and the offensive line is tilted to Jacksonville. The Texans defense is playing better than the Jaguars right this minute. Now, why people, including myself, are picking the Jaguars. They are coached better. Doug Marrone and his staff are better at coaching than Bill O'Brien and his staff. The Texans have turnovers in 20 straight games and have thrown an interception in 17 straight games. They commit penalties too often. Houston can't score in the red zone despite being unstoppable last year. It's coaching. From top to bottom. It should be the difference Sunday. 

 

 

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Houston's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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