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The Jacksonville Jaguars are primed for the most exciting season in franchise history. Man, does it feel good to say that!
We are mere days away from real, live, Jacksonville Jaguars football.
Feels good, man. Feels real good.
Even though they’re starting away from home, Trevor Lawrence & Co. are 3-point favorites in Houston. It’s not a very wide gap, considering the Texans are starting Tyrod Taylor and their offense was left bare thanks to Bill O’Brien. But it’s a game the Jaguars should win, and that I expect them to win.
What do they need to do to get there?
1. Cover the fuse
Tyrod Taylor is not going to bring an explosive element to the Texans offense. Houston’s skill players just aren’t good enough on their own to make up for his deficiencies. Deshaun Watson is good enough to make up for the rest of his roster though, but I doubt he even plays this season.
A good measure of any quarterback is his Adjusted Yards Per Attempt and the average last year was right at 7.6—about what you’d see out of Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, or Ryan Fitzgerald. Taylor hasn’t been that good over a season since 2015, which was coincidentally his only season finishing that high.
2. Overperform in the middle
Houston went all in on the passing game last year, limiting their running backs to the fewest carries in franchise history. Deshaun Watson excelled because... well... he’s Deshaun Watson. He’s a very good quarterback. But now they’ll undoubtedly be a running back-by-committee offense with Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson vying for touches.
Lindsay is fast enough to break outside, but Ingram and Johnson aren’t... which means the Jaguars’ interior defensive linemen have their work cut out for them. Stop them up the middle and the Texans offense moves squarely to the shoulders of Taylor, which is a recipe of success for Jacksonville.
3. Take away the giveaways
Houston was very bad on defense in terms of takeaways last year, forcing turnovers just nine times.
In this year’s preseason, they’ve collected 10.
It’s marked improvement and isn’t just due to the fact that this is preseason and the team is playing the backups of backups. They’re better, more physical, and more focused. Limit mistakes, especially in the passing game, and this should be an easy ride.
All in all
At the risk of sounding cliche, I want to see a win. How they do that is anyone’s guess—this team really went full preseason with its approach on offense and how that side of the ball will actually start off and evolve through the year is a bit of a mystery.
But this is a Texans team that, frankly, just isn’t any good. And with Tyrod Taylor shuffling in at quarterback, it’s gone from “meh” to “yuck”. Brandin Cooks is Houston’s only real threat from a skill position standpoint.
The offense will be key to any victories the team has and with Trevor Lawrence finally getting a full game worth of snaps, DJ Chark, Jr. back in action, and James Robinson cemented as this team’s RB1, this offense should start to build some consistency.