The biggest challenge for the Jacksonville Jaguars defense this Sunday is stopping Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson.
For the second time in less than two months, the Jaguars and the Texans meet in a critical game in the AFC South. With both teams fighting for playoff positioning and the Jaguars on the verge of a bye week before tackling both Indianapolis for the first time and then the second game with Tennessee, this is a game the team must have in order to remain in contention for the postseason.
Winning the next three games, which would be five in a row, would be a tremendous accomplishment for Jacksonville, a team that only won a single division game last year. Watson and the Texans came away with a 13-12 win in Week 2 on their home field. The Jaguars take their show to Wembley Stadium this weekend with the idea that their distinct advantage in the UK will help this team take down their rivals.
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"“He can throw the ball extremely well, and he really hurts you with his legs,” Wash said via Jaguars.com. “Not only do we have to worry about Hop (All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins), we have to worry about the quarterback.”"
And the Jaguars must worry about his arm and his legs as the former first-round draft pick can beat his opponent with both. This defense had issues with mobile quarterbacks last season. Wash and his staff know defending the dual-threat Watson will take a major effort from everyone on the field.
"As John Oehser explained, “The Jaguars ranked third in the NFL this season with 29 sacks, registering eight in a victory over the New York Jets this past Sunday. The Texans’ offensive line also has dealt with injuries in recent weeks.”"
The players on the team’s roster are aware of how good Watson has been this season and know they are responsible for trying to make the Texans offense one-dimensional on Sunday.
"“The thing about him is when you beat your block, you’re just getting started. The real task is getting him down. He is very, very elusive and has a good knack for making guys miss. He’s strong. He’s tough. We’ve got our hands full,” Calais Campbell said.“The key is doing it together. He makes one guy miss, then makes another guy miss, then makes another guy miss … hey, we’ll just keep coming. Eventually, we’ll get him down.”"
The defense’s ability to play their brand of football like it has done in victories over Cincinnati and the New York Jets in back-to-back weeks will be the key to victory. If Jacksonville is showing signs of the 2017 version of this roster, with a better offense, things must happen on Campbell’s side of the ball for the Jaguars to set the tone on Sunday.
"“When we get our hands on him, we can’t miss him. That’s when you really get hurt,” Campbell said."