JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are in London to face the Texans Sunday at Wembley Stadium. It's the first of three straight games against AFC South foes in the month of November. Here are my four keys for the Jaguars to beat the Texans.
Gardner Minshew has won the rookie of the week award six times in the first eight weeks of the season. Another award-worthy performance would be a huge boost for the Jaguars.
It would also make Doug Marrone's decision about who to start on Nov. 17 more difficult. That's when Nick Foles is eligible to return to the active roster. Can Marrone stick with a rookie over a former Super Bowl MVP? It would be a tough call, but Minshew has been making plays every week. His performance in London could be the difference-maker in Marrone's decision.
Deshaun Watson has been having an outstanding season, throwing 16 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. However, four of the five interceptions have come in the last two weeks.
If the Jaguars can keep Watson from extending plays and making throws downfield, they can have success. Forcing a couple of turnovers wouldn't hurt either.
In past seasons, Jalen Ramsey would follow Texans' receiver DeAndre Hopkins all over the field. After the trade of Ramsey to the Rams, the Jaguars figure to utilize A.J. Bouye in the same roll. Will Bouye be up to the challenge?
He's been enjoying his best season with the Jaguars to this point and recently became a father for the second time (he told me that he is sleeping well, somehow). If Bouye can make this a defining game of his season, the Jaguars will be in great shape.
Avoid the nightlife
Last year, several Jaguars were involved in an incident on Friday night at a club in London where they were accused of skipping out on the bill. Four of the Jaguars who were there were detained by authorities.
That was amid a stretch of time when the Jaguars season was coming unraveled. The players must approach this visit to London as a business trip. It's not as fun, perhaps, but neither is a losing season.