Will the Jaguars make magic happen on Sunday and will these three bold predictions come true against the Houston Texans?
If you are basing the Jacksonville Jaguars offense solely on numbers, this year‘s version is much improved from the 2018 abomination.
Despite the loss, Jacksonville scored 26 points, which is far greater than the 15 points per game they were averaging just a year ago. The team also gained over 400 yards on the ground and through the air. The game plan initiated by coordinator John DeFilippo worked. The team’s defense let the franchise down.
Realistically, nobody was going to beat Kansas City last week. The team scored on all seven of their possessions. But for a team that was so impotent last year, Jaguars found ways to score, and given this was done with a rookie quarterback, it makes it that much better.
Now we fast forward to this weekend with the Houston Texans and their imposing defense looking straight at a rookie who appears to be fearless. If I said that I didn’t like this matchup, I would be lying. I’m curious to see how Gardner Minshew reacts on the road and in the first start of his NFL career.
The Jaguars still have issues to work out, mainly with injuries this week. Several key stars will not play. But I have a good feeling about this week even though I have picked them to lose their second game in a row. That story will be released later this morning.
In keeping with the “Magic 8-ball” theme that I have adopted the season, I look for answers as to how the Jaguars can win on Sunday. I also make a few bold predictions along the way. Here are three of them that would lead to a team victory should they happen.
Gardner Minshew throws for four touchdowns – If you want to see the city of Jacksonville explode on Monday, see what takes place if their rookie quarterback throws four touchdowns against the Texans.
A lot would have to happen for that to become in reality, mainly that the Jaguars run game is shut down by Houston’s front for. I don’t expect that as I believe there will be enough of a game plan to allow this offense to run for 150 yards on the day.
The idea is to keep it simple for Minshew, where he does not fall into situations where he must win this game with his arm. If that occurs, look for DeFilippo to unlock the safe and give the keys to the Ferrari to Minshew.
I’m not sure of the Jaguars can win a shoot out against Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense but it could be entertaining nonetheless.
Three sacks for Josh Allen – In keeping with the rookie theme here, I do expect edge rusher Josh Allen to have a big game today. Playing in place of Yannick Ngakoue, this could be his coming out party opposite Calais Campbell on the front four.
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While the Texans have J.J. Watt, who is a terror from the outside as a pass rusher, the Jaguars could have the same kind of performer on their roster for the future.
The Jaguars are committed to finding ways to keep Allen on the field, taking advantage of his size and speed. He did not have a sack in the first game of the season against Kansas City, but he did show that he could be a disruptive force.
Also, keep in mind the front office is still looking to negotiate a new deal for Ngakoue, the former Maryland star, as he is in the final year of his rookie deal. Ngakoue’s hamstring injury cannot keep him on the sidelines long, especially if Allen shows flashes as the next great sack artist for the Jaguars defense.
A shutout on Sunday – After surrendering 40 points last week to the Chiefs, the Jaguars defense makes a big statement by pitching a shut out on the road in Houston.
I figure I need to go big or go home with this one as the Texans scored 40 points in their two victories last year against Jacksonville. A lot has changed, with Houston facing a new quarterback under center.
This is a situation where a victory for Jacksonville is very much predicated on the way the defense plays for four quarters. If the defense holds Watson and the offense at bay, the complexity of this game changes which allows Jacksonville to play a little more conservatively, which also helps its rookie signal-caller.
Jacksonville scored 26 points last week, but points may be hard to come by on the road. I could see this being a game where 17 points are all the Jaguars need to win if everybody on the other side of the ball plays up to their capability.