The Jacksonville Jaguars enter Week 6 with a disappointing 1-5 record. The team returns home for the first time in three weeks to face off against their division rival, the Houston Texans. While it will be a battle between the two teams on each side of the ball, I'm looking for a specific individual matchup that could potentially make-or-break the game for Jacksonville.
But "individual matchups" does not necessarily mean just two players facing off against each other. It could be Allen Hurns vs. Kareem Jackson, Brian Hoyer vs. the Jaguars secondary, and more.
Although the Jaguars lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, the individual matchup of the game, the Jaguars offense vs. their red zone issues, was a win for the Jaguars, as they scored four red zone touchdowns.
My matchup of the week is the Jaguars offensive line, the right side in particular, against J.J. Watt.
Jaguars offensive line vs. J.J. Watt:
J.J. Watt carries the reputation as one of the scariest all-round playmakers in the NFL. If 61 sacks, 321 tackles, 12 fumbles forces and 11 fumbles recovered, five total touchdowns, and one interception in just over four seasons doesn't scare you, then I don't know what will. Just accept it, those are freakish numbers.
The Jaguars starting offensive line consists of left tackle Luke Joeckel, left guard Zane Beadles, center Stefen Wisniewski, right guard A.J. Cann, and right tackle Jermey Parnell.
So far this season, Watt has lined up mostly on the left side of the defensive line, which is the right side of the Jaguars offensive line. So, if you pay attention to this matchup during the game, watch for Watt to go up against Cann and Parnell.
How the Jaguars can win the matchup:
As I said before, J.J. Watt is one of the scariest playmakers in football, and it is going to be hard for the Jaguars to contain him, as it is for the other 30 teams in the NFL. If the Jaguars want to win this matchup, they need the offensive line to step up and shut down Watt.
The Texans might try and move Watt around the line, shifting him from right to left and back again. No matter which side of the line he's on, I think the best solution is the easiest one -- double-team him. Keep Toby Gerhart into pass protection, put Marcedes Lewis on blocking duty... I don't care. Just don't let him pressure Blake Bortles into stupid mistakes.
Last week, the Jaguars gave up six sacks to the Buccaneers, and they need to not repeat that performance against Watt and the Texans if they want the offense to find success.
J.J. Watt is the ringleader of the Texans' defense, which seems to be the only consistent part of the Texans team as a whole. If the Jaguars shut down Watt, they can ultimately take advantage of the Texans' defense, and win the ball game.