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Jaguars prepare to close out regular season

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For the fifth straight season and the 11th time in 16 years, the Jaguars conclude the regular season on the road as they visit the Houston Texans on Sunday at Reliant Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 4:15 p.m. EST, a change from the original 1:00 kickoff.

This is the 18th meeting between the two teams with the Jaguars leading the series, 9-8.  The Jaguars have won three straight and five of the last seven.  Each franchise has swept the season series twice.

The Jaguars trail the Indianapolis Colts by one game in the AFC South heading into the regular season finale.  A Jaguars win combined with a Colts loss (at home vs. Tennessee) would give the Jaguars their first division title since 1999.

The Jaguars are looking to close out the regular season with a win for the first time since 2005 and eighth time in 16 seasons.  Sunday marks the fifth straight season the Jaguars will conclude the regular season on the road and the 11th time overall.  This is the second time in the last four years the Jaguars will meet the Texans in Reliant Stadium in the season finale.  The Texans won 42-28 on Dec. 30, 2007 as the Jaguars rested the majority of their starters in preparation for the postseason.

Common opponents

The Jaguars and Texans have played 10 common opponents in 2010.  Here's the list:

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JACKSONVILLE (5-7)

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HOUSTON (5-7)

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Dallas

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W, 35-17 (road)

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L, 13-27 (home)

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Philadelphia

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L, 3-28 (home)

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L, 24-34 (road)

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Indianapolis

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W, 31-28 (home)

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W, 34-24 (home)

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L, 24-34 (road)

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L, 17-30 (road)

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Tennessee

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L, 3-30 (home)

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W, 20-0 (home)

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W, 17-6 (road)

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L, 17-31 (road)

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N.Y. Giants

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L, 20-24 (road)

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L, 10-34 (home)

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Washington

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L, 17-20 (home)

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W, 30-27 (road)

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Oakland

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W, 38-31 (home)

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W, 31-24 (road)

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Kansas City

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L, 20-42 (road)

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W, 35-31 (home)

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San Diego

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L, 13-38 (road)

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L, 23-29 (home)

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Denver

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W, 24-17 (home)

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L, 23-24 (road)

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Edwards ready for opportunity

Trent Edwards is expected to step into the starting lineup on Sunday, with David Garrard out due to a finger injury.  Despite taking limited reps during practice, Edwards has plenty of experience to draw from.  He has started 32 games since being selected in the third round of the 2007 draft by Buffalo, and he played the entire second half in the Jaguars' Oct. 18 loss to Tennessee.

"I've been preparing all year for an opportunity to play again," Edwards said. "I had a chance earlier in the year in Buffalo, and now coming here I've been able to sit and watch Dave do it the past 12-13 weeks. Now the chance is there for me to step up and try to help this team get a win. Everyone in this locker room understands how important this victory is for this organization and this team."

Since being claimed off waivers by the Jaguars on Sept. 28, Edwards has been in the offensive meetings so offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter should not be limited in his plan on Sunday.

 "I think we'll start with a normal game plan and kind of go from there," Edwards said. "If there are things that I'm not throwing well or I'm not comfortable with, then we'll probably move those things down the priority list a little bit."

Koetter agrees.

"When a quarterback is playing his first game and he hasn't been playing very much, in my opinion you're crazy as a coach if you try to force your whole package down his throat because you think it's good," Koetter said.  "I think he's been in our system long enough to understand the concepts of what we want to get."

Two stars could be sidelined

The Jaguars won't know until later this week if Pro Bowl starter Maurice Jones-Drew will be able to suit up on Sunday as deals with a knee injury.  The team will get no sympathy from their opponent as the Houston Texans are dealing with a similar issue.  Wide receiver Andre Johnson has battled an ankle injury for the majority of the season but still managed to record 86 receptions and eight touchdowns.

"I think you're talking about two really good football players that have fought all year to be with their team," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said of Jones-Drew and Johnson.  "Obviously, they are both Pro Bowl players, they are both very talented and they have great hearts. That's what we are seeing and I know that's what Houston is seeing with their receiver. It's an issue that we dealt with all year."

Inside the numbers

  • Jaguars opponents are only 20 of 62 (32.2 pct.) on third down in the last five games.
  • The Jaguars are 13 of 22 on fourth down (59.1), the third-most attempts in the NFL.
  • Mike Sims-Walker leads the Jaguars with 12 receptions for first down on third down plays.
  • Vince Manuwai has not been called for a holding penalty through 15 games.
  • The Jaguars rank second in the NFL with 82 points scored in the final two minutes of the first or second half.  The Jaguars have scored 44 points in the first half and 38 in the second half. 
  • The Jaguars are 6-2 in games decided by eight points or less this season.  The Jaguars have been involved in only two games decided by three points or less, a 31-28 win over Indianapolis in week four and a 20-17 loss in overtime last Sunday against Washington.
  • The Jaguars have scored at least one touchdown in the second quarter in nine straight games.   
  • The Jaguars are tied for sixth in the NFL with 34 points on their first offensive possession, and eighth with 35 points on their first offensive possession of the second half.
  • On 26 goal-to-go drives, the Jaguars are seventh in the NFL with a 76.9 touchdown efficiency (20 TDs, 5 FGs). 
  • The Jaguars are 2-7 this season when recording 30 or more passing attempts. 
  • The Jaguars join Buffalo as the only two teams to not have a roughing the passer penalty called against them through 15 games.

Television coverage

Sunday's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS, locally on WTEV CBS47 (Ch. 6 cable). Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties with Dan Dierdorf providing analysis.

Radio coverage

Sunday's game will be broadcast on the Jaguars Radio Network which extends to 10 affiliates in Florida and Georgia. The Jaguars' flagship stations are WOKV AM & FM (690, 106.5). Brian Sexton (play-by-play) and former Jaguars defensive end Jeff Lageman (analyst) are in their eighth season together calling all Jaguars games.

The last word

"It's a week-to-week business. You can't get too high or too low with an individual game like that.  For us we've got an opportunity to finish, have a winning season, win in the division, get to 4-2 in the division and then see if that takes us to a division title or not. For us I think staying the course and keeping our heads about us, staying together, those are things we've been able to do all year and we'll continue in that vein."

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio following overtime loss to Washington **

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