The last time the Jacksonville Jaguars won a game, there was no President-elect Trump and the Chicago Cubs were still chasing the ghosts of 1908. A one point win over the Bears on October 16th was the last win for the Jaguars and it was the second in a row, moving the Jaguars to 2-3 on the season. But, eight straight losses followed. Now, an eight game losing streak would seem to indicate a team just going through the motions, but that's far from the truth with this Jaguars squad.
After losing to the Titans by 14 in October, the Jaguars lost by five to the Chiefs, three to the Texans, seven to the Lions, seven to the Bills, ten to the Broncos and nine to the Vikings. In each of those games, the Jaguars were in position to get a win, yet couldn't finish. Chris Ivory fumbled at the one yard line against the Chiefs on the road. The Texans had to hang on with a late third and five completion to stave off a comeback. The Jags led the Lions on the road heading into the fourth quarter. Jacksonville had a one point lead to start the fourth quarter at Buffalo. Last week, they led the Vikings 16-12 before losing the lead in the fourth quarter.
My point is that it's not going to be a walk in the park for the Texans to beat one of the best 2-11 teams I've seen. That's weird to say but it's the truth; this is a wildly talented team that just can't find a way to finish a game and win. So, how do the Texans do it
Here are my keys to the game.
1. Don't turn it over: Fairly obvious, but the Texans are 5-1 when they're even or better in turnover margin this year (thanks Drew Dougherty).
- Spread to run: The Texans can hammer the rock with the best of them, but they've also had success running out of three and four receiver looks throughout the season. They did this well versus Jacksonville the first time.
- Pass protection at a premium, especially up the middle: The Texans could be without Jeff Allen at guard on Sunday. Oday Aboushi has played very well, but it's still different personnel adapting to one another on the inside. They must ensure no leakage up the middle in Brock Osweiler's face.
1. Don't let them breathe: The pass rush was relentless last week against the Colts and it needs to do the same to Blake Bortles this week too. Furthermore, the pressure came from everywhere and that must continue.
- NO scrambles: Now, I love me some scrambled eggs, but I don't like a scrambling quarterback, especially like the one the Texans will face on Sunday. Bortles can change the complexion of a game with his feet.
- Lee isn't just a brand of jeans: Marqise Lee has turned a corner and truly become one of the best assets for the Jaguars. His catch and run ability can be an issue for the Texans defense.