This is already the second meeting between the two division rivals in 2019. Of course, the Jaguars came up a literal inch short in the first meeting, losing 13-12 after a failed two-point conversion attempt. This week’s meeting will have big time implications on the AFC South race moving forward.
1. At this point, the Jaguars are London veterans, as this will be the franchise’s seventh visit across the pond, while the Texans are making their first trip to the U.K. Do you think this is an advantage for Jacksonville and are you worried how the long travel may affect Houston?
Jeremy: It is an advantage for the Jags. (Doug) Marrone knows how to coach his team through a London week, whereas (Bill) O’Brien does not. However, there are some Texans with London experience. Tashaun Gipson played in London last year with the Jags and Gareon Conley played in London not even a month ago. I think the Jags have an advantage, but it won’t be the reason why a team wins or loses the game.
2. We all know Deshaun Watson is special. My question to you (taking away all Texans bias), if you could start a franchise with any one player, are you choosing Watson, Patrick Mahomes (or another player) and why?
Jeremy: If totally healthy - I pick Watson. However, Watson’s health is not as strong as Mahomes’, so that’s why I guess I would lean toward Mahomes, but it is 1a and 1b. I think that’s how that pair will be viewed their entire career.
3. The Texans’ offensive line has seemed to be struggling forever. Meanwhile, “Sacksonville” seems to have officially returned. How concerned are you about the offensive line versus Jacksonville’s pass rush?
Jeremy: The past few weeks has seen an improvement in the O-Line, as the team went nine or some quarters without allowing a sack. A lot of this can be credited to Watson getting the ball out quicker and the offensive line holding it down. However, Tytus Howard is still hurt and Sacksonville is the best front seven Houston has faced in a while, so I am nervous for sure.
4. Outside of the trenches mentioned above, what else do you see as the most important matchup on Sunday and why?
Jeremy: A.J. Bouye vs. DeAndre Hopkins. It’s the first Texans-Jags game in the post-Ramsey era and Ramsey would usually quiet Hopkins, but now Bouye has to step up and neutralize Nuk.
5. How does the J.J. Watt injury affect Houston’s defense moving forward? After so many injuries, is it time to be concerned about Watt’s career coming to an end sooner rather than later?
Jeremy: It is going to really hurt the front seven. Whitney Mercilus is having a career year because so much attention is focused on Watt. Now that attention is going to move to his direction. Rookie Charles Omenihu is going to slot in the starting lineup and I’m looking forward to see what he will bring but he won’t be able to match what Watt brought to the table.
Thank you once again to Jeremy for providing his thoughts and insights on the London matchup. You can follow him on Twitter, and of course, stay up-to-date on Jacksonville’s division rival by following Battle Red Blog as well.