The Jacksonville Jaguars will face a depleted Houston Texans team.
COVID-19 has been a constant theme throughout the 2020 NFL, we’ve seen plenty of players get infected and miss games due to the virus. The Jacksonville Jaguars had to close their facility as recently as October 17 after 12 practice squad players tested positive. Their AFC South rivals, the Houston Texans, will be without four of their players in Week 9 after placing them on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Texans guard Max Scharping tested positive for the virus on October 28 and linebacker Jacob Martin did on November 4. Contact tracing protocols later revealed that outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus and inside linebacker Dylan Cole were in contact with Martin. For that reason, the team placed them on the reserve/COVID-19 on November 5.
At this point, there is no indication either Mercilus or Cole have the virus, and they can leave the list if they test negative every single day for five straight games. Since the Texans game is on November 8, there won’t be enough time for them to get clearance. The soonest they could return to the team would be November 10.
How does this impact the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Mercilus will be the biggest loss for the Texans on the football field. The veteran has played in all seven games this season and started six of them. He will miss the first game of the year in Week 9. On the other hand, Martin has played 35.98 of the team’s snaps on defense in 2020 while Cole is part of the team’s special teams.
The Jaguars plan to have a balanced offense on Sunday so they may try to test the Texans linebacker corps early in the game. However, it’s uncertain at this point how much of a difference Mercilus, Martin, and Cole’s absence will have in the game.
Heading into Sunday, the Texans defense ranks 30 in points allowed with 217. It will be interesting to see how the Jaguars coaching staff will approach the game as rookie quarterback Jake Luton will start for them.