Can the Jacksonville Jaguars win in London and enjoy the bye week with a three-game winning streak? The Houston Texans hope to halt that from happening.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense could have a big day through the air on Sunday. As noted by Jair Lopez of Toro Times, three of the Houston Texans starting defensive backs are out for the game in London. While this might make things a bit easier for Jacksonville’s secondary, playing their AFC South rival is always a tough task.
"“Tashaun Gipson, Lonnie Johnson Jr., and Bradley Roby were ruled out for the trip to London in a game that Houston needs all their players to further distance themselves from the Jaguars in the race for the top of the AFC South.” he writes."
This is the seventh time the Jaguars travel across the pond to Wembley Stadium, their home away from home for a game in the UK. It’s also a place where the Jaguars can continue to gain momentum with a win with the bye week coming up.
The Jaguars then continue their tour of the AFC South with road games against Indianapolis and Tennessee in the next two weeks before Thanksgiving.
How has the Texans offense gotten better since Week 2 of the season against the Jaguars?
Though they’ve battled through injuries at varying positions this season, overall the offense is better than the team that put up 13 points early in the season.
One of the better aspects of the roster is the offensive line when they are healthy. Right now the Texans are without Tytus Howard at right tackle, and that is an issue for the line as of late. There have been a few issues with injuries to wide receivers, but overall the play of Deshaun Watson continues to impress, and as long as he is on the field each week, the Texans can continue to improve and have a chance to win.
What are your impressions of Gardner Minshew now that he has seven-plus games under his belt as a starting NFL quarterback?
Gardner Minshew is the best thing to happen to the Jaguars this season, and in all honesty, if I were running the Jaguars, he would stay the starting quarterback even when Nick Foles is ready to return. What I like about Minshew is his touchdown-to-interception differential, as he’s thrown 13 touchdown passes to just two interceptions.
He’s also thrown for nearly 2,000 yards, and with the Texans having a lot of issues with their secondary due to injuries, he could have a really good game.
In his first game against the Texans, Minshew was 23-of-33 for 213 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, with a long pass of 31 yards. My prediction for him in this game is he’ll exceed those numbers easily against the current Texans secondary.
So far, Minshew is going in the right direction as an NFL starter. Though there is still work to do for the rookie, he’s the best option for the team at the moment.
Do you think the passing game will become more of a factor now that Jalen Ramsey is not covering DeAndre Hopkins?
If the Texans don’t get DeAndre Hopkins more involved in the passing game now, there are no more excuses. The last game, Hopkins was defended and defeated by Jalen Ramsey, with Hopkins being held to five receptions for 40 yards and no touchdowns. Though three of his receptions were for first downs, his longest catch was just 14 yards, so the win there went to Ramsey.
With Ramsey being traded, and Hopkins really needing a breakout game at this point of the season, it is time for him to do it this week as his best game this season was Week 1 when he caught eight passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
The 40 yards against Jacksonville was his second-worst game of the season, so as great as Hopkins is, with no Ramsey, this is his biggest opportunity yet to have an outstanding game.
Who steps up to replace J.J. Watt on the defensive line?
This is a tough question because the depth of the Texans isn’t the greatest when it comes to the defensive line, especially at defensive end and pass rusher. My guess it will have to be Whitney Mercilus. As outside linebacker against the Jaguars in Week 2, he totaled three tackles and two sacks.
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Omenihu could be a secret weapon for the Texans moving forward, as his reps are sure to increase as he already had two sacks and two forced fumbles in his rookie year. Against the Jaguars in Week 2 he collected two tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble, so watch him in this game as a player to take over for Watt.
The Houston Texans win if…
If the Texans can control the pace of play with their offense and have a great rushing attack to set up the passing game, that is their key to success this week and every week moving forward. Expect to see a good number of carries from Carlos Hyde, and possibly Duke Johnson as well, though he’s used more for their passing game.
The Texans need to keep their defense off the field more than usual this Sunday, and if they can wear down the Jacksonville defense with a slow and steady pace, that can happen.
If the Texans are able to do so, that will also keep Minshew off the field, and that will only help the Texans in their pursuit of a second win this season over the Jaguars.