The Jaguars’ matchup against the Texans this Sunday will be a chance to make a statement in the AFC South. As the defending division champions, the Texans will be on their toes against an emerging Jaguars offense. With the full time return of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, QB Blaine Gabbert will have his full arsenal of weapons to unload on a tricky Texans defensive line. In a recent interview, Mike Mularkey commented, "They find a way to get the ball from opponents. They make it very difficult to sustain long drives." However, the Texans also failed to sustain protection in mid-range passes last week against the Dolphins.
Yet the Jacksonville defense had their problems in the final moments of the Vikings game. Gabbert threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts (finally!), presumably sealing the deal. The Jaguar’s secondary gave up three long passes, allowing for field goal range to send the game into over time. As if that was not enough, special teams decided the best way to help the need for more yardage was to bobble punt/kickoff returns and run right into their own blockers. Blaine Gabbert can throw thrilling TD passes every game, but it will amount to nothing if the other team is allowed to march down the field in 7 seconds.
A key to winning against the Texans is containing WR Andre Johnson. Johnson is not only putting up fantastic fantasy points, he is the primary ball mover after the catch. Already averaging 14.9 yards a catch, Johnson will force the likes of Rashean Mathis to play his best game. Texans’ QB Matt Schaub loves to take shots down the field, even on first and second down. The Jags defense will have to blitz early and often to eliminate climbing out of a Texans lead in the second half.
By continuing to shake up their roster, the Jaguars will come to Sunday’s game a self-searching enigma. WR Brian Robiskie and TE Colin Cloherty were both released with TE Stephen Spach and OL Herb Taylor signed instead. While the majority of the Jaguars starting positions are decided, the second stringers have played prominent roles in play actions and running defense.
Once again, protecting Blaine Gabbert is the primary concern of the offensive line. Maurice Jones-Drew will find his own way into the daylight, but giving Gabbert time will improve the performance of the receiving team. TE Marcedes Lewis has jumped up from the ashes of last year’s performance with five receptions for 52 yards, averaging 10.4 yards a catch. The Texans will be looking to contain WR Justin Blackmon, but if their corners play the same as they did against the Dolphins, Blackmon will easily find the open field.
If the Jaguars can pull a win this Sunday, the rest of the AFC will not only take them more seriously, but the trickle-down effect will begin for the rest of the league. Although it’s been a long time since the Texans were serious playoff contenders, their franchise is respected in a divisional state of mind. Focusing on having the best record in the AFC South will allow the Jaguars to keep accomplishing short-term goals while giving fans the chance to talk playoffs.Back to the Jacksonville Jaguars Newsfeed