The Jaguars are set to take on the Texans for the second time in 2020 this Sunday at 1 pm. They'll host the Texans at the friendly (?) confines of TIAA Bank Field, less than 24 hours after the Gators and Bulldogs face off in their annual showdown at The Bank.
Let's take a look at ten storylines heading into this AFC South Showdown!
Luton's First Start
Rookie sixth-round pick Jake Luton will make the first start of his young NFL career. He's never thrown a pass in a live setting. He didn't get the benefit of playing in the preseason. But his coaches and teammates appear confident in the 6'6" quarterback. He played well, at times, in training camp and certainly has enough arm talent to get the job done. Jaguars' head coach Doug Marrone likes the kid but doesn't know how he'll respond in a real game setting. "The hardest thing I think for all of us, especially that position, is how is that player going to be when really the bullets are flying because it's a unique position," said Marrone. "Especially now this year without the preseason games where you can kind of see him in the preseason games where things are going fast and you have a lot of bodies flying around you. Some guys are calm, you've seen them in the league, they've been successful, they're calm, they step up, they can deliver the football, they keep their eyes down the field. Some guys get hit and they get rattled, I mean we've all seen that. So, that's really what the unknown is."
Race to #1
The Jaguars currently hold the third overall pick in the draft. For fans that are clamoring for the top spot in the draft, a win against the Texans — or any of the Jaguars' upcoming opponents — would be detrimental. But the Jaguars' players and coaches are preparing to win the game. Both teams have just one win (the Texans' lone win came against, you guessed it, the Jaguars), but the Texans traded away their first-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The Texans have every reason to compete at the highest level in an attempt to turn their season around. The Jags, well...
A Different Jaguars' Defense?
It should be noted that the first time the Jaguars took on the Texans in 2020, they were without several key defensive players. Defensive end Josh Allen, weakside linebacker Myles Jack, free safety Jarrod Wilson, and cornerback CJ Henderson were all out with injuries the last time these two teams squared off. The presence of these four starters on defense could make a big difference in this contest's outcome.
Texans' Dominance Against Jags
Houston has owned Jacksonville in recent years. The last time the Jaguars took down their rivals from Texas was in 2017. Since then, the Texans have won five straight matchups with the Jags and have done so in convincing fashion. Looking deeper into the history of this division rivalry, the Texans own the series against the Jags, having won 24 of their 37 matchups.
The Jaguars undrafted rookie running back has been a revelation. His combination of vision, burst, and power has proven challenging to slow down through seven games. The Texans have the second-worst run defense in football, but they kept James Robinson in check in early October. The Jaguars will need Robinson, who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season, to produce much more than the 48 yards on the ground that he did against Houston in week five.
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