After a 2-2 start, the current AFC no. 3 seed Jacksonville Jaguars will host the winless Houston Texans this week in an AFC South divisional matchup.
These are the players I’ll be paying most attention to on either side of the ball.
QB Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville had some unforced errors in its season opener in Washington before the offense started humming in lopsided wins over the Colts and Chargers. Last week, though, the Jaguars faced hurricane conditions in Philadelphia, and Trevor Lawrence committed five turnovers in a 29-21 loss to the Birds.
Again — it was hurricane conditions. Lawrence looked horrific and played the worst game of his career, but it doesn’t mean much considering the sideways rain and howling wind. Dropped fumbles and wobbly passes are what we saw out of Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles, Gardner Minshew, etc. on sunny days at the Bank.
While I’m willing to throw this weather game out of my memory, that’ll be a harder task for Lawrence himself. Confidence matters, and it’s important that Lawrence has a short memory and moves on to Houston without thinking too hard about past mistakes.
Pay attention to his rhythm on Sunday. Is Lawrence playing smoothly and all in one motion and with confidence? Or is he staying onto reads for too long and forcing passes and getting skittish?
You saw the latter last week, but for an example of the former, watch the way Lawrence acts as and after he throws this Week 3 touchdown.
October 8, 2022
The little shuffle he does? That’s a quarterback who knows six points are coming but is just waiting to make sure his receiver finishes the play. That's a quarterback with swagger.
If this version of Lawrence re-emerges on Sunday, the Texans are in trouble.
DE Adam Gotsis
Interior defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi signed a three-year, $30 million deal in Jacksonville last March and has been one of several difference-makers in the trenches for the Jaguars. However, Fatukasi’s run defense will be missed against Houston after he suffered a quad injury last week.
#HOUvsJAX Status Report pic.twitter.com/1auMxpRjHK— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) October 7, 2022
The next man up is Adam Gotsis. Nose tackle will continue to be manned by DaVon Hamilton, but Gotsis is in line to start in his first game for the Jaguars since last October at left defensive end.
The former Denver Broncos second-rounder has been a key rotational piece in Jacksonville for a few seasons, and it feels like Gotsis is always good for a big play. Only Josh Allen has more tackles for loss than Gotsis since he joined the Jaguars in 2020.
After surrounding 134 rushing yards to Miles Sanders last week, Gotsis, Hamilton, and starting right defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris are set to face Dameon Pierce, who rushed for 131 yards himself in Week 4. Jacksonville’s interior must win on early downs against the run so defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell can unleash the hounds on Davis Mills on third downs.
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