JACKSONVILLE, FLA – Four key things the Jaguars must do to beat the Texans.
After just one week, the Jaguars are bruised and battered. Again.
The season opening lost to Kansas City left the Jaguars without their starting quarterback, after Nick Foles broke his collarbone. Foles is not the only major injury the Jaguars are dealing with, however. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has a hamstring pull. He will not play against the Texans. Neither will cornerback A.J. Bouye. Neither will wide receiver Marqise Lee. So what can the Jaguars do to beat Houston? Here are four big things:
1. Run the ball effectively early: Leonard Fournette ran well when given the chance against the Chiefs, but when the Jaguars fell behind, the running game took a backseat. Fournette running the football will not only set the tone physically for the Jaguars offense, but it also would allow the Jaguars to utilize play action more effetively, a great way to keep rookie Gardner Minshew protected.
2. Stay ahead of the chains: Avoiding second-and-long and third-and-long situations will be vital for Jacksonville‘s success. Although he has looked sharp mentally, Minshew is still a rookie. Given obvious passing situations, the Texans defense can get creative with pressure and coverage, a perfect formula to force a rookie quarterback into mistakes. Penalties, particularly on first down, can easily do you rail the Jaguars' chances. Jacksonville must be more disciplined and they have typically shown in the last several years.
3. Sacksonville 2.0: in the 2017 season opener, the Jaguars went to Houston and shocked the league when they totaled 10 sacks of Texans quarterbacks. The Jaguars would seem to have the personnel, even with all of the injuries, to harass Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. After feeling to sack Patrick Mahomes one week ago, the Jaguars need to get the sack attack working.
4. Quick change: The Jaguars need a quick change play. Something on special teams or defense that suddenly flips the field. A long return, an interception, a forced fumble, something. Last week, the Jaguars tried to get too cute against the Chiefs offense, according to defensive coordinator Todd Wash. This week, let the big dog hunt.