After a pretty convincing victory in week 1 over the Miami Dolphins the Houston Texans are set to head to EverBank field to face off against 1 of their divisional rivals in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are coming off an overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings on the road and are looking to use this game to get back on track for the season. The Texans are the lone team in the AFC South to win their game in week 1, so coming into the game, that’s being aired on CBS at 1 ET on Sunday the Jaguars are hopeful to gain a little ground early in the season on the 2011 AFC South champs.
The Texans are looking to improve to 2-0 on the season and take a bigger lead in a division in which they are highly favored in. This will be the first time we’ll see the Texans on the road this year, where they were 5-2 last season. Winning games on the road is a thing that must happen for teams with hopes of a championship and the Texans know this. They will not look at this game as many fans will, they won’t consider it a given. They’ll game plan the same as they would for the Ravens or Saints and go out and try to get the job done on Sunday.
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak wasn’t happy with the Texans run defense last week as they let Dolphins RB Reggie Bush run for 69 yards on an average of 4.2 yards per carry. The defense knows coming into a game with 1 of the leagues elite RB’s in Maurice Jones-Drew that they’ll have to execute and stop the run. During last years 2 meetings between the Texans and Jags Jones-Drew ran for a total of 162 yards and a TD. The Texans defense will have to limit Jones-Drew’s production and force 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert to win this game. That’ll be the strategy of the Texans for this weeks match up. Wade Phillips defensive unit was able to get to rookie QB Ryan Tannehill last week and collect 3 sacks and 3 interceptions in the game against the Dolphins. They’ll be on the same mission this week to disrupt the pocket and force Gabbert to make quick decisions. Last year the Texans defense was able to get Gabbert to turn the ball over 3 times on interceptions and sacked him a total of 7 times in 2 games. OLB Conner Barwin feasted as he recorded his first 4 sack game of his young career. I’m expecting Phillips to move Barwin around a lot to get him favorable match ups all game. CB Jonathan Joseph should have a huge impact with rookie WR Justion Blackmon looking to have the first big game of the season. DE JJ Watt had a great game to open the season. He deflected 3 passes from QB Ryan Tannehill, 2 of those were intercepted after being sent into the air. He also had a sack last weak, and I expect he’ll be trying his hardest to get after Gabbert this week. He might have a harder time this week though, as the Jags are actually aware of his presence. Jags Head Coach Mike Mularkey on JJ Watt: “I like his desire. I love his motor. You can do a lot of things when you play with that relentless-type mindset.”
I think the Texans will look to Matt Schaub a lot during the beginning of this game. The Jags defensive line is still the best part of that defensive unit and it wouldn’t make since to pound the ball on the ground running it without a lead for the Texans. Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on Jags D-Line: “Big guys everywhere. Way they play DE’s makes it difficult to put double-teams on them.” TE’s Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham will both be targeted a good amount this week as they attempt to attack the Jags secondary and line backing core. Both Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin are names we should hear this week as well. With the history between these 2 teams there will be no shortage of double teams and different coverage schemes to attempt to control Andre Johnson. RB Arian Foster could see his carries reduced due to an illness picked up during the week. Foster, who had 2 TD’s in the season opener still expects to play his regular amount of snaps but with a back up like Ben Tate I could see Kubiak playing it safe and giving Tate a few more carries than last week. The Jags defensive line is a tough bunch and if the Texans want to dominate the clock and win playing Texans football they’ll need a full effort out of both backs.