The Jaguars and Texans are both hungry for a win after heartbreaking losses to start the 2019 NFL season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had high hopes to start the 2019 season, but the loss of quarterback Nick Foles and a poor performance by our usually stalwart defense left fans frustrated after the game.
The Houston Texans played the New Orleans Saints in a highly entertaining game but were defeated by a last-minute, 58-yard field goal. Each team played a top opponent and hope to win the AFC South title. Both teams are ready to even up their record with a win.
Let’s learn about the Texans. They are a division opponent who soundly defeated the Jaguars twice last season. Houston won the AFC South title in 2018 with an 11-5 record. The team had six Pro Bowl players, four of them still on the active roster. The returning stars are quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, linebacker Benardrick McKinney, and defensive end J.J. Watt.
The Texans added two new running backs, Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, this offseason. Both played well in the season opener. Johnson had nine rushes for 57 yards plus four catches for 33 yards. Hyde, a former Jaguar, had 10 rushes for 83 yards. Hopkins caught eight passes for 111 yards.
The Texans continue to have an issue with pass protection. Watson was sacked six times and hit a total of 11 times. espn.com blindsided Watson sacked six times in the opener
As Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com explained, it was a surprise given the team spent draft capital to bring in help for the offensive line.
"“The Houston Texans thought they had greatly improved the offensive line when they traded for left tackle Laremy Tunsil,” she wrote."
Maybe not. The Texans defense allowed 510 net yards and 370 passing yards. Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a great game against the Houston secondary depleted by the loss of two free agents.
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Last week, the Jaguars had issues of their own trying to stop Patrick Mahomes. This is a concern because Watson is another Pro Bowl quarterback and the secondary must step up to help win this game. There were many receivers running loose in the secondary on Sunday with the Jaguars playing catch up.
Jacksonville’s defensive line should have a stellar day against a limited offensive line of the Texans. The problem the Jaguars defense faces as described by Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com is the same old issues the team faced last season.
"“There were a rash of penalties for undisciplined play, … too many breakdowns on the defense… players and coaches admit they’re already facing some of the same issues they did last season,” he wrote."
Despite the poor defensive performance last week, Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew played well. The somewhat makeshift offensive line did a decent job protecting him.
The Jaguars defense is capable of excellent play but needs to tone down the taunting and personal foul penalties. Jacksonville will defeat the Texans if Minshew continues to play well, and Leonard Fournette runs with power. The defensive line must protect our young secondary with a great pass rush, and the team plays with more discipline on both sides of the football.