The Jaguars are in no position to relax.
At 2-5, that's a fundamental truth for the Jaguars as the midway point of the 2011 season approaches, and it remains true even in the wake of the biggest victory of the season.
So, what are the chances the Jaguars let up this week? What are the chances they spend the week savoring the moment?
No chance, according to cornerback Rashean Mathis.
At least there shouldn't be.
"We know that we can't breathe," Mathis said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-5) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Houston Texans (4-3) at Reliant Stadium in Houston Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We know what it takes to not get too high off of this win. The game we're playing this week is even more important than the game we played on Monday Night, so we have to be prepared for it."
The Jaguars on Monday beat the Baltimore Ravens, 12-7, snapping a five-game losing streak. Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said the approach this week is no different than it was the first six weeks.
"The preparation and the approach remain, hasn't changed a whole lot," Del Rio said. "Through the rough spots, the good times, it's all been pretty steady. That's the way we want to be."
The Jaguars trail the Texans by two games, but each team is unbeaten in the division. The Jaguars beat Tennessee in the season opener and the Texans have victories over Indianapolis and Tennessee.
"It's definitely keep your foot on the gas – I think that's our mentality," Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "Every game is big, every game is large – especially after you've dug a hole that we dug for ourselves, but there's added importance because of the fact that that we're 1-0 in the division and they're 2-0 in the division.
"It definitely would be a nice feather in our cap. The way we're playing, we've got to carry what we've done in the past game, we've got to use that momentum carrying into Sunday."
Another reason to be prepared:
The Texans aren't only leading the division, they have one of the best offenses in the NFL and one of the best defenses, too. They are ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense – that despite the absence the last three weeks of All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson – and with new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, they have improved a defense that struggled last season to No. 8 in the NFL.
One more reason:
The Texans will be up for this game, having designated the Jaguars game as "Battle Red Sunday," something that Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said Wednesday he's not sure was a very good idea on the part of the Texans.
"I think it's a bad idea," Knighton said. "A bull sees red, they attack. There's going to be a lot of red out there, so I don't think they should do that."
Asked if the Jaguars were the bull, he said, "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We'll be coming."
Mathis said it's not unexpected. The Texans have designated the Jaguars for "Battle Red Sunday," and have done some with varying degrees of success. Jacksonville is 3-6 all-time at Reliant Stadium.
"They always do," Mathis said. "That's nothing new for us."
Knighton said while the Jaguars in past seasons have sometimes sustained disappointing losses in the wake of emotional, important victories, "We don't dwell on any of the negative things."
"Regardless of whether we lose or win, we try to find the positive of the game and build on that," he said. "This week, we're going to build on what we did against Baltimore, try to shut (the Texans) out and give our offense a chance to get rolling."
The Jaguars' defense limited the Ravens to 148 total yards and did not allow a point until 2:02 remained. That effort moved them to No. 6 in the NFL. The Jaguars have held five of seven opponents under 300 yards offense, but offensively, Maurice Jones-Drew said improvement remains critical and must come quickly.
Jones-Drew, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has rushed for 677 yards on 148 carries. That leads the AFC and on Monday, he became the first player this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Baltimore when he finished with 105 yards on 35 carries.
But overall, the Jaguars' offense ranks No. 32 in the NFL in total yardage, and is averaging 12 points per game.
"There are things we can improve on and things we can clean up and that's what we're working on," said Jones-Drew, who added that while a victory would indeed tighten a division race that's not something a team three games under .500 should be emphasizing.
"We can't worry about that," Jones-Drew said. "We have to win one game at a time first. After going on that skid we had, and understanding how it felt to lose and finally getting one win, we have to keep working hard and probably work even harder now.
"We have some vulnerability as an offense we have to clean up. If we can do that, we'll be all right."