1. Let's just get this out of the way first: How do you stop J.J. Watt? What will the Jaguars have to do to minimize his effect on the game?
I used to give somewhat realistic answers to this question, but over the course of this season it's become pretty apparent that you simply can't stop J.J. Watt. It just doesn't happen. That option no longer exists. He will do what he does, and the opposing offense generally just has to sit there and take it. Short of triple teams and three step drops on every pass play, it's virtually impossible to slow down Watt let alone stop him outright.
As a Jaguars fan, you have seen what he can do before plenty of times, but there have been multiple occasions this year where opposing fans who had never seen him play live before -- namely fans from NFC East teams -- refused to believe that one man could do all that damage. Without fail, after every matchup with those NFC East teams the same opposing fans would return with a completely opposite outlook on Watt.
"Oh there is no way Watt can stop us by himself," Washington fans said. "He is not as good as Lawrence Taylor," asserted the Giants faithful. "Tyron Smith will shut him down," bragged the Cowboys supporters. "We will wear him down by half time," thought the Eagles. Each and every one of them were more wrong than the last, and some of my personal highlights of the season have been watching their initial reaction to Watt's greatness every week. It was like seeing children open Christmas presents for the first time... if those Christmas presents were shock, disbelief, and despair.
2. Where are the weak points on the Texans defense? How can Jacksonville put points on the board?
The secondary has been relatively weak lately with Kareem Jackson sidelined with a knee injury. Johnathan Joseph cannot stay completely healthy either, and Houston's only options behind them are a bunch of young guns with much to learn. On top of that, Kendrick Lewis is a slow free safety and D.J. Swearinger seemingly cannot stop making huge mental mistakes in coverage.
The Texans secondary still forces a surprisingly high amount of turnovers, but in between taking the ball away they also have a frustrating penchant for giving up big plays.
DeAndre is a phenomenal route runner, hands catcher, jump ball warrior who has shown he has a little speed to burn this season as well. Houston has been looking for a stud receiver to take the torch from Andre Johnson for some time now, and Hopkins appears to be that guy. He's going to be very, very good for a long time.
As far as weaknesses go, he is mostly limited by his quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a terrible game against the Colts (as per usual), and Ryan Mallett couldn't put the ball in Hopkins' zip code against Cincinnati due to playing with a torn pectoral muscle (which at the time we did not know about). Hopkins just crossed the 1,000 yard mark last week against the Titans, and to be honest I almost find that more impressive because he did it with Fitzpatrick at quarterback.
4. Explain how Houston fans feel about No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Is there hope he can still live up to his billing, or are you all pretty discouraged by how little he's been on the field?
It's been frustrating to say the least mainly because his injury was caused by the Texans' utterly terrible turf at NRG Stadium. Fans and other teams around the league have been calling for it to be changed for years because of all the injuries it has caused, and I can only hope that Clowney's knee ailment will be the final straw.
It has sucked to not really be able to see Clowney in action this season because of his laundry list of injuries, but I have not changed my overall outlook on him as a player. At this point I just want him to heal up and come back next year ready to play. Aggravating that knee over and over again for the rest of this season just seems a little pointless to me.
5. What's your prediction for Sunday? Do the Jaguars get another surprising win, or will the Texans move one win closer to a Wild Card spot?
The Giants beat the Texans, and the Jaguars beat the Giants, so naturally that means the Jaguars will also beat the Texans right? Well... anything can happen.
I still predict a Houston victory this weekend because that is by far the more likely scenario, but the NFL seems to have a way of turning itself upside down every now and then.