1. The Jaguars running game vs the Texans front seven
In 2016 the Jaguars run game has been downright pitiful, but last week in Kansas City they found life in a big way. Chris Ivory rushed for over 100 yards on the ground and displayed the tenacious running style that fans have been clamoring for all year. T.J. Yeldon pitched in with 33 rushing yards on only 7 carries, while Bortles found great success escaping the pocket and finding yards on the ground to the tune of 54 yards. All in all the Jags rushed for over 200 yards on the day in what should have been a big win for the team. Now the Jaguars face a Texans team that has boasted one of the worst run defenses in the NFL all year. With players in the front seven like Whitney Mercilus, Vince Wilfork, Brian Cushing, and Jadeveon Clowney they are not with out talent, but without J.J. Watt the Texans front seven has lost their identity. They give up over 125 yards a game on the ground and 4.4 yards per carry. If the Jaguars hope to get back in the division race they'll need to establish the run against the Texans this week.
2. Jalen Ramsey vs DeAndre Hopkins
Jalen Ramsey is perhaps the biggest bright spot for the Jaguars in what has been a most disappointing 2016 season so far. He has shut down some of the best receivers in the game and routinely makes plays that leave fans in awe. He is being targeted less and less through out the season because of his stellar play and is a major player in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. This week he'll be matched up with DeAndre Hopkins who has had a hugely disappointing 2016 season. Most blame Hopkins' drop in numbers on the newly signed QB Brock Osweiler. Hopkins is still having a decent year as he's hauled in 40 catches for 434 yards and 3 TDs, but he hasn't been putting up the gaudy numbers that we've become accustomed to. These two heavy weights will likely play much of the game lined up against each other and if Ramsey can get the better of Hopkins, who averaged 8.5 catches, 118.5 yards, and 1 TD against the Jags in 2015, then the Jaguars chances of taking down their division rival will increase exponentially.
3. Blake Bortles vs Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles is the poster boy for the Jaguars disappointing 2016 season. He hasn't taken a step forward in year 3 - in fact he's taken one backwards. His stats aren't as terrible as you might expect, but most of his TDs have been put up in garbage time this year. He's been inconsistent at best, but with a new offensive coordinator that apparently knows how to call plays that suit his players, and a running game that appears ready to break out, Bortles doesn't need to be great. All Bortles needs to do is not beat himself. If he can limit himself to one or fewer turnovers this week, he'll give his team a great chance to win. Bortles has thrown 10 INTs so far this year (the third most in the NFL). While Bortles has been a turnover machine, the Texans defense has greatly struggled in the turnover department this year. They've picked off only 3 passes all season. If Bortles can play a clean game then the Jaguars should have a very good chance of winning this one.
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