The Jacksonville Jaguars head to Houston as 6 point underdogs against the Texans, which is to be expected. It’s going to be an uphill battle if the Jaguars want to start the season out 1-0, something they have done since the 2011 season. It’s an important opening game because it’s an AFC South divisional game and the Jaguars follow it up with another AFC South game against the Tennessee Titans. You don’t want to start the season not only 0-1, but 0-1 in the division.
For the Jaguars to win the game, they’re going to need big days from the following five players:
The Jaguars rookie left tackle is likely going to be targeted by the Texans pass rushers because he’s a rookie and because the team has a big question mark at the left guard spot, making Robinson even more vulnerable to things like stunts and blitzes, as he doesn’t really have a good feel for the person next to him right now. Robinson doesn’t need to play mistake free, as he’s a rookie and that’s expecting a lot, but he needs to limit the pressure he’s going to give up and not let anyone just flat out blow by him.
I’m confident that if Fournette can get adequate blocking in front of him, he can pick up chunks of yardage for the Jaguars offense. If he can get going, the team can ride him on offense and control the clock. He’s going to need to do some work on his own however, given what we’ve seen from the offensive line, so if he can break a few tackles or even kick a run to the outside for a big gain, the offense will be in business.
Yannick Ngakoue/Dante Fowler
The Houston Texans will be without starting left tackle and two-time Pro Bowler Duane Brown on Sunday, so the tandem young pass rushers for the Jaguars should be able to pin their ears back and go at Tom Savage. Both Fowler and Ngakoue will need to consistently win their matchup against whoever starts at left tackle, because they’re clearly not going to be as good as Brown and they should take advantage. I’m not as “lol Tom Savage” as a lot of fans are because he’s been pretty good in the preseason and he shredded the Jaguars last season coming in mid-game, but putting pressure on him is most important.
I saved Bortles for last, because it’s the most obvious. Simply put, if the Jaguars want to beat Houston, Bortles has to have an efficient turnover free day. They don’t need him to fall into his old habit of playing “hero ball”, where he’s trying to get a chunk play every down, but they need him to play smart and just move the chains. If he can have a turnover, mistake free game against Houston and the Jaguars win, they can start flipping the narrative.