JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser checks in with a last look before the Jaguars play the Houston Texans at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Jaguars (1-4), Texans (1-4).
This is to stay out of last place in the AFC South.
That's the reality of the Jaguars' game against the Texans Sunday, with a loss for either team leaving them four games under .500 and needing a miraculous run to get close to contention.
It's a matchup of two teams that have struggled for various reasons, with the Texans shuffling between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at quarterback and losing close games to Kansas City, Carolina and Indianapolis. The Texans also lost in one-sided fashion to Atlanta with their lone victory coming over Tampa Bay, 19-9.
The Jaguars, too, have struggled in close games, narrowly missing opportunities to beat Indianapolis and Tampa Bay the last two weeks.
Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been ruled out with an ankle injury. For the Jaguars, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks – the team's sacks leaders last season with 8.5 – is expected to play for the first time this season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Houston in the 2014 regular-season finale.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, after emphasizing accountability early in the week, said he saw good attention to finishing throughout practice this week.
"We've got an opportunity here again and I think that was really the big message," Bradley said. "I think what made it a little bit more different is I felt more accountability. I'm not saying from me, I think it's more powerful if you feel from player to player…. I think how they're holding each other accountable is a big part of it."
Running back T.J. Yeldon (groin) is questionable for the Jaguars, their only player listed as such on the Friday injury report. He could be a game-time decision Sunday.
Yeldon did not practice this week, but Bradley said Yeldon still had not been ruled out.
Marks was listed as probable on the injury report, as were quarterback Blake Bortles (right shoulder), offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (stinger), cornerback Aaron Colvin (shoulder), defensive tackle Abry Jones (knee), offensive tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), running back Denard Robinson (knee), tight end Julius Thomas (hand), offensive tackle Sam Young (illness), cornerback Davon House (hip) and wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle/thigh).
If Yeldon doesn't play, Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart likely will share repetitions at running back along with rookie Corey Grant. Robinson was listed as probable on the Friday injury report after missing the last three games with a medial collateral ligament injury.
Safety James Sample was listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury and wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) and running back Bernard Pierce (concussion/hamstring) were ruled out.
The Jaguars need this one. That has been true the last two weeks, but after a three-game losing streak with all three losses coming on the road, that's particularly true this week. Three of the Jaguars' four losses this season have been decided in the fourth quarter – Carolina, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay – and in that sense, the team has improved dramatically from the last two seasons. But untimely late mistakes have cost the Jaguars a chance at first place. Those mistakes also have the Jaguars needing a victory to stay out of last place – and to gain some momentum entering a game against the Buffalo Bills at Wembley Stadium next Sunday.