Sky Sports live games
Tomorrow night’s live games on Sky feature a battle in the AFC South between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars and a crucial game between the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders with both teams having Playoff ambitions. Both games see back up Quarterbacks replace injured starters as Matt Leinert replaces Matt Schaub for the Texans and Caleb Heine replaces Jay Cutler for the Bears. The Texans-Jaguars game will be starting at 6pm on Sky Sports3, with the Bears-Raiders game starting at 9pm on the same channel. I’m going to give a preview of both games and also try to predict the outcome of the games. So here it goes.
7-3 Houston Texans at 3-7 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Matt Leinart era in Houston begins on the road in Jacksonville. Leinart was a star in college at USC. In 2004, he guided them to a BCS National Championship and won the Heisman Trophy. Since then, things haven’t turned out great for Leinart. He was drafted with the tenth overall pick in 2006 by the Arizona Cardinals. Leinart struggled with the Cardinals and was released before the start of last season having made just 17 starts in four seasons. He will be making his first start for the Texans in this game as Matt Schaub is out with an injured right foot.
Expect to see plenty of rushing from the Texans in this game, with Running Backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate both having solid seasons. Wide Receiver Andre Johnson will start this game having fully participated in practice all week. Johnson has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury. The Texans Defense will be looking to put pressure on Jaguars Rookie Quarterback Blaine Gabbert in this game. Watch out for Linebcaker Brian Cushing who is leading the Texans in tackles this season.
The Jaguars are coming into this game after losing 14-10 against the Cleveland Browns last week. The Jags have struggled all season long and I think it’s safe to say they will not be going to the Playoffs this season. Rookie Quarterback Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been the player that the Jags were hoping for when they drafted him with the tenth overall pick in this year’s draft. Gabbert has a QB Rating of 64.4 and is completing less than 50% of his passes. The team is last in the NFL with just 129.4 passing yards per game.
The one player that’s stood out for the Jagsuars this season has been Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew is on pace for his third consecutive 1000 Yard season and has been the only spark for the Jags Offense. Expect to see plenty of running from Jones-Drew in this game as the Jags try to make things easier for Quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
I see the Texans getting the win in this one. Texans23 Jaguars14
Players to watch out for: Texans- Running Back Arian Foster, Wide Receiver Andre Johnson, Linebacker Brian Cushing
Players to watch out for: Jaguars- Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew, Linebacker Daryl Smith, Cornerback Rashean Mathis
7-3 Chicago Bears at 6-4 Oakland Raiders
With Jay Cutler likely out for the season with a hand injury, the Chicago Bears will turn to Caleb Hanie to be their starting Quarterback. Hanie has never started a Regular Season game before and the Colorado State alum is a bit of an unknown commodity in the NFL. Why the Bears didn’t see the need to sign a more experienced Quarterback to back up Jay Cutler is beyond me. With the team 7-3 and still in the hunt for the Playoffs, you would think they would have given Free Agent Quarterback David Garrard a chance instead of going with Caleb Hanie. That hasn’t yet been the case and the Bears go into this game depending on Running Back Matt Forte to lead their Offense.
Forte is currently the fourth leading Rusher in the NFL he leads the league in total yards from scrimmage. With Cutler out, Forte will be asked to take on an even bigger role in the Bears Offense. Expect to see Forte run the ball at least 20 times in this one and don’t be surprised to see the Bears setting up Screen Plays for him on 3rd Down. The Bears will also look to Wide Receiver Devin Hester to provide a spark on Offense and on Special Teams as Hester has four total Touchdowns this season.
The Raiders are currently top of the AFC West and are on a two game winning streak after defeating the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings respectively. Quarterback Carson Palmer has shown signs of improvement over the last two games and looks to be have become more comfortable in the Oakland Offense. The Raiders will again be without Running Back Darren McFadden in this one as he has been ruled out for the fourth consecutive game with a foot injury. The Raiders Offense are improving every week and they are currently third in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Look for Wide Receivers Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey to have big games in this one.
The Raiders Defense has struggled at times this season but shouldn’t be too troubled by Caleb Hanie in this one. As long as the Raiders Defense can contain Matt Forte, I think they can get the victory in this one. Expect the Raiders to put pressure on Caleb Hanie and the Bears weak Offensive Line with Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and Defensive Tackle Richard Seymour just some of the players to watch out for.
I see the Raiders winning this one. Bears17 Raiders21
Players to watch out for: Bears- Running Back Matt Forte, Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Devin Hester, Defensive End Julius Peppers
Players to watch out for: Raiders- Quarterback Carson Palmer, Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, Defensive Tackle Richard Seymour
So that’s the prediction, hope everyone enjoys the games on Sky.