One of the things the Jacksonville Jaguars must do to beat the Houston Texans is stop quarterback Deshaun Watson.
When I asked Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien about his star quarterback Deshaun Watson, he said that the difference between the player now and how he developed from his rookie season it’s like night and day. Watson and the Texans will face the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday in London as part of the International Series for the NFL.
The Jaguars and the Texans met in Week 2 of the NFL season, with the home team coming away with a 13-12 victory in the closing seconds after the Jaguars failed on a two-point conversion to win the game.
The game was the first start for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew as well as set the wheels in motion for what turned out to be the eventual trade of disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
The Jaguars have improved since their last contest with their division rival, and ride a two-game winning streak into London where they have played seven consecutive seasons as the home team.
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Watson is not the only player the Jaguars must contend with this weekend on offense, but he might be the most important. The Texans will use former Jacksonville running back Carlos Hyde much in the same way they did last time the two teams met, where the former Ohio State star gouged the middle of the defense for most of the afternoon.
The secondary will face wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins without Ramsey in the lineup. The Hopkins-Ramsey matchup is one of the more entertaining one-on-one displays in the NFL and worth the price of admission alone. Cornerback A.J. Bouye will now be asked to do what Ramsey has had success doing, which is shut down the All-Pro pass catcher.
The game is also important to both teams in terms of standings in the AFC South. The Jaguars are 4-4 having ridden a roller coaster this season. The Texans are 5-3, and second in the division.
The season, Watson has thrown for 2,231 yards with 16 touchdowns in five interceptions. He can also beat his opponents with his ability to move out of the pocket and scramble for yards with his legs.
He will face a defense that has suddenly found its identity and has become a turnover machine. He will face a pass rush of Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen, who have found a rhythm together as one of the more feared pass-rushing tandems in the league.
The defense had four turnovers against Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago and four turnovers this past weekend against New York Jets. Tre Herndon who has replaced Ramsey in the lineup, had his first two interceptions of his NFL career last week in the 29-15 win over the Jets.