Can the Jaguars rebound from their loss last week and beat the Houston Texans on the road?
After the defense struggled during week one against a high powered Chiefs offense, how will the Jaguars fare in Week 2 against the rival Texans? Here are some key players to watch in this upcoming game.
The Jaguars and Texans are a very heated rivalry that consists of great matchups and intense games. Both teams suffered losses in their first week and start the season off 0-1. In order for Jacksonville to win this game, they have to put last weeks defensive disaster behind them and focus on the positive aspects of the game.
There are many key players in this game as there is every week, but here are the three players to watch in this Week 2 matchup.
1) Gardner Minshew – So much hope was put on the shoulders of recently signed free agent Nick Foles, and unfortunately, he was injured on the play that he threw his first touchdown pass as a Jaguar. However, Gardner Minshew stepped up and played very well in his absence. Minshew looked poised and confident making plays like a 10-year veteran instead of a rookie sixth-round pick.
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
- Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways
Exceeding expectations is an understatement as Minshew connected on 88-percent of his passes, an NFL rookie record, and was awarded the Week 1 rookie of the Week – beating out tough competition like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Kyler Murray. If he continues to play well, Jacksonville has to have some thoughts as to what to do once Foles returns. He was the player that everyone was talking about this week, from sports talk shows to meme Twitter accounts, Minshew’s success was celebrated throughout the NFL after his debut.
Now the job is his for the foreseeable future and it is his duty to carry this team. Minshew has to play confidently, but not overly confident. He cannot let the success of last week get to his head. The main key for Minshew this week is he needs to take care of the football and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Another stellar performance would be outstanding but going up against a strong Texans defense with fearsome pass rushers like J.J. Watt means that it is likely Jaguars fans will see a drop in Minshew’s performance.
If he is even close to the same quarterback as he was against the Chiefs it should not only be enough for a victory but maybe people will start to ask if Minshew is the long term answer for the Jaguars at the position.
2) Jalen Ramsey – This is going to be the matchup that most casual NFL fans would tune in to see two prized heavyweight competitors going head to head.
Jalen Ramsey, probably the best corner in the league, lining up against Deandre Hopkins, probably the best wide receiver in the league. Both Hopkins and Ramsey spoke to the media about the matchup. Ramsey compared Hopkins to a Madden player stating,
"“[Hopkins] had a 99 overall rating on Madden. That is damn near unguardable on Madden, right? It’s pretty much like that in real life, too.”"
The respect goes both ways as well. When speaking to the media about the matchup Hopkins praised Ramsey stating,
"“He’s my favorite corner to play against. He’s the only corner in the NFL that actually follows me everywhere I go. You got to respect that. … No matter where I line up he’s right there in front of me. A lot of guys claim they’re No. 1 DBs, but not a lot of guys can do that.”"
This game within the game will be an interesting one to watch as the Jaguars defense looks to bounce back after struggling against reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the high powered Chiefs offense.
3) DJ Chark – Minshew was not the only surprise Jaguar player who broke out in a big way against the Chiefs, Wideout DJ Chark exploded with big plays down the field stretching the Chiefs defense and allowing for other wide receivers to get open underneath. A player who was highlighted as a potential for a potential breakout year coming into this season did not disappoint.
Obviously, that is only one week and Jaguar fans would love to see continued success from Chark as well as all the other Jaguar receivers throughout this season. Chark, however, is the key player to watch as his ability as a deep threat down the field and big-play ability add something special to an offense that has been very bland for a number of years. He has the speed, size, and athleticism to be one of the star receivers in the league.
Another big week would be a step in the right direction for making that wish become a reality.