Texans remain in playoff hunt, need help

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HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans need everything to go their way Sunday to make the playoffs for the third time in franchise history.

They insist they're only focused on one thing.

"It would be on Jacksonville," safety D.J. Swearinger said. "We've got to take care of what we can control and ignore all the other noise. We've got to beat Jacksonville."

The Texans (8-7) have bounced back from last year's 2-14 season and need a victory over the Jaguars (3-12) and have both Baltimore and San Diego lose to secure an AFC wild card. In a dismal season, Jacksonville would enjoy playing spoiler.

"We'd love to knock them out," Jacksonville defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said. "You know, same division, if we can't go, you don't get to go. That would be nice."

It will be the second start in a row for quarterback Case Keenum, who Houston signed off the St. Louis practice squad last week after both Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage were injured and with Ryan Mallett already out for the season. Keenum was with the Texans in training camp before being released, and picked things up quickly in his return to earn his first NFL win last Sunday against the Ravens.

"He had good command of the huddle," quarterbacks coach George Godsey said. "We're asking him to do a lot of things with maybe some checks. Just coming back from being away for so long, it was really refreshing to see how quickly he grasped it. There were some things that we were able to expand with him. Another week to be a little bit better, and then we'll see how that goes."

The Jaguars are encouraged by the improvement of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, the third overall pick in the draft. He has 11 touchdowns with 17 interceptions this season, but has just three interceptions in his last five games after being picked off 10 times in his first five.

"He's back on track now," Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. "I know he didn't throw an interception last week. He threw one against Baltimore, but that was the last play of the game. He's making very good decisions and I think he still keeps his aggressiveness."

Some things to know about the Jaguars-Texans game:

WATT'S WORK: Houston defensive end J.J. Watt leads the NFL with 25 tackles for losses and 47 quarterback hits. His 17 1/2 sacks are second most in the NFL and he needs 2 1/2 more to become the first player in NFL history with at least 20 sacks in two seasons. Watt has a franchise-record 54 sacks in his four-year career and has batted down 37 passes in that span. Watt leads the NFL with five fumble recoveries and has 11 in his career. He is the first player since Bill Golding in 1948 to have three offensive touchdowns and two touchdowns on takeaways in a season.

ON THE MARK: Marks is having the best year of his career in his sixth season in the NFL. He has 42 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks, which are both career highs. He's gotten better as the season has progressed and 6 1/2 of his sacks have come in the last eight games.

FOSTER'S FINE FORM: Arian Foster is second in the NFL with 101.9 yards rushing a game a year after missing eight games because of a back injury. He leads the Texans with 12 touchdowns, including a career-high four receiving this season. He added to his contributions on offense last week when he threw a touchdown pass in his first career attempt. Foster has 1,223 yards rushing with seven 100-yard rushing games this season, and a franchise-record 32 in his career.

FRANCHISE FINALE? Two veterans are likely playing their final game for Jacksonville. Receiver Cecil Shorts III is scheduled to become a free agent, and the Jaguars are expected to part ways with expensive and relatively unproductive tight end Marcedes Lewis. Lewis has been with the Jags since they drafted him in the first round in 2006.

IN ELITE COMPANY: Second-year player DeAndre Hopkins leads the Texans with 1,205 yards receiving to join Andre Johnson as only players in franchise history to have at least 1,200 yards receiving in a season. His best game came in Week 13 when he grabbed nine receptions for a career-high 238 yards.


AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed to this report.


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