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J.J. Watt bolsters MVP case in Texans' win over Jaguars

The Baltimore Ravens' victory prevented the Texans from reaching the playoffs despite J.J. Watt's heroics in leading Houston to a 23-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. Watt bolstered his MVP argument with three sacks, including a fourth-quarter safety that staked the Texans to a six-point lead. He's now the only player with a pair of 20-sack seasons since the statistic became official in 1982. Watt's 2014 season is the most dominant we have ever seen by a defensive lineman. His 2012 season isn't far behind.
  1. It's no surprise that Andre Johnson had his best game of the season with Case Keenum under center. Over the last two years, Johnson has six touchdowns in 10 Keenum starts and just two scores in 21 games started by other quarterbacks. Keenum's carelessness with the ball and struggles with blitzes will prevent him from competing for a starting job, but he's a lot better than several NFL backups. It's hard to believe he wasted away on the Rams' practice squad for the majority of the season.
  1. Credit Texans coach Bill O'Brien for successfully instilling a culture change to a more physical team reliant upon defense and ball control. An easy schedule was a factor, but it's still impressive that the Seahawks and Rams were the only teams with a better defense from the Week 10 bye to the end of the season.
  1. Blake Bortles flashed the arm strength, athleticism and toughness to believe he has a chance to develop into the face of the Jaguars' franchise. The staff's top two priorities of the offseason should be upgrading the offensive line and streamlining Bortles' mechanics.
  1. Jacksonville's biggest concern in Sunday's game was a knee injury to defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, the best player on the roster. Marks never returned after undergoing initial tests in the locker room. He will need further testing on Monday, per CBS' Jen Hale.
  1. Arian Foster was sidelined by a hamstring injury late in the first quarter and never returned. He did well to earn a Pro Bowl nod despite hamstring, knee and groin injuries in one of his most effective seasons.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 17 game and debates the MVP race between Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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