Win the turnover battle: Our division foe, the Texans, are almost as inept offensively as the Jaguars and our teams also share the unfortunate similarity of a struggling quarterback. Our biggest problem offensively last week wasn’t stagnation but instead turnovers. Blake Bortles did have the most embarrassing turnover of the game last week, but he was hardly the man behind the loss against the Chiefs. Interim offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett will be in good shape if he can churn out the same offensive production without the drive-killing turnovers. The team that protects the ball WILL win this football game.
Attack with the running game: The Houston Texans don’t necessarily force a lot of turnovers but they do defend well against teams that aren’t balanced offensively. If the Jaguars come out guns-blazing and are forcing passes 20-plus yards downfield we’re going to be ineffective at picking apart the Texans defense, which is ranked in the top-five at defending the pass. The Texans are tied for fifth in the league for 20-plus yard run gains allowed and are 28th in the league at defending the run, which obviously means the Jaguars need to try to create big plays in the run-game. Chris Ivory and doses of Yeldon brought life to our running game last week against a Chiefs defensive front that has as much or more talent than do the Texans. Against the Texans who give up 125 yards a game on the ground and 4.4 yards per carry the Jaguars must run the ball. If the loss to the Raiders showed us anything, it’s that a low ranking run defense can still come into Jacksonville and punch us square in the mouth if the offensive line isn’t playing with physicality and running downhill on quick developing run plays.
Play the possession game: There are three prominent trends in the three Texans losses this season. First being, their incompetence in defending the run as we discussed in the previous point. The Texans gave up 180-plus yards in two of those games to opposing running backs. Second, all of the Texans losses this year have been on the road. Granted those road losses were to the Broncos, Vikings and Patriots. Third, they struggle defending underneath routes against possession receivers. We need to look to get Marquise Lee matched up on linebackers and safeties so we can gash the Texans zone defense. Speed wins versus the Texans defense.
Believe me, I know Jaguars fans are tired of hearing that if we had played a clean game, we could’ve sealed a win. The hard part to accept is that if the Jaguars actually had played a clean game last week against the Chiefs, we definitely would’ve won. I think we have a good opportunity to come out and steal a win this week against the AFC South division leaders.
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