When the Jaguars drafted Travon Walker with the number one overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, I remember a number of Jaguars supporters, fans and analysts saying that would be the last time the Jaguars make the number one overall pick. They had drafted franchise QB Trevor Lawrence the year prior and followed that up with the selection of rising star Walker, from the national champion Georgia Bulldogs. It was the only two times that the Jaguars drafted number one overall, but many thought that was going to be it at number one.
Those people seem to be more right than anyone in the AFC South wanted to truly acknowledge. The high-profile additions in the Draft over the past two seasons and the free agent acquisitions appear to be meshing well, turning Jacksonville into one of the most athletically gifted, and toughest, teams on the Texans' schedule. Walker has been a budding superstar on the outside for a front seven that has EVERYBODY'S attention. Lawrence is the straw stirring the drink, though, for this entire organization and he's changed his game with the arrival of Doug Pederson as head coach.
The Texans have dominated this rivalry since 2010, in particular, but the Jaguars won't be anyone's "get right game" as they've been in the past. This will be as physical a game as the Texans have played all season long in the sun and humidity of northeast Florida. Buckle up because the first place Jaguars are ready to make a statement with the Texans coming to town looking for their first win of the season.
As such, let's get to Know the Texans' Week 5 Foe - the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars 2022 Schedule (2-2)
|Week 1||@ Washington Commanders (L, 28-26)|
|Week 2||Indianapolis Colts (W, 24-0)|
|Week 3||@ Los Angeles Chargers (W, 38-10)|
|Week 4||@ Philadelphia Eagles (L, 29-21)|
|Week 5||Houston Texans|
|Week 6||@ Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 7||New York Giants|
|Week 8||Denver Broncos (London)|
|Week 9||Las Vegas Raiders|
|Week 10||@ Kansas City Chiefs|
|Week 12||Baltimore Ravens|
|Week 13||@ Detroit Lions|
|Week 14||@ Tennessee Titans|
|Week 15||Dallas Cowboys|
|Week 16||@ Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 17||@ New York Jets|
|Week 18||Tennessee Titans|
Jaguars OFFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Per game||110.3 ypg (17th in the NFL)|
|Passing Yards Per game||216.3 ypg (18th)|
|Total offense per game||336.5 ypg (20th)|
|Turnovers lost||6 (2 INT, 4 Fumbles lost)|
Expected Jaguars starting offense for Week 5
|WR||Marvin Jones Jr.|
Other key offensive pieces
|Weapon X||Jamal Agnew|
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars offense
1. The NEW Trevor
No matter what happened this year in Jacksonville, QB Trevor Lawrence was going to be a different QB. New coach. New scheme. Last year's disaster of a season well behind him. But, he's also making changes in his approach, courtesy of new head coach/play caller Doug Pederson. Lawrence's yards per attempt won't set any records in the near future but the quick release program is working for the Jaguars offense because the ball is coming out quickly, on time and on point. That approach has allowed the Jaguars offense to find a rhythm early in games and move efficiently throughout the game. That's all happening because Trevor Lawrence has found his new groove.
2. A true Weapon X
The Jaguars added WR Christian Kirk and Zay Jones this offseason, got RB Travis Etienne back from IR after last year and solidified the tight end position with the addition of Evan Engram. Yet, the most dangerous Jaguar with the ball in his hands is Jamal Agnew. Now, he can play both RB and WR and the Texans must be aware of his presence when he's on the field. He had the two offensive touchdowns against the Eagles on receptions from Lawrence. His electrifying speed and explosiveness are a major problem, even if he doesn't play 100% of the offensive snaps. In fact, he only played 18 snaps on offense, yet he was targeted in the pass game on a third of those plays.
3. Give 'em or Take 'em, doesn't matter
Against the Eagles, Lawrence fumbled four times and lost all four of them. To me, that's more of a giveaway than a takeaway, but I'll take it either way. Yes, it was a monsoon in Philly last week, but those four fumbles are going to be in Lawrence's psyche throughout, especially if the Texans can get one out of his hands early in this game. So, I don't care if he coughs it up on his own or the Texans rip one away from him - go get the ball from him.
Jaguars DEFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per game||93.8 ypg (8th in the NFL)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per game||236.5 ypg (16th)|
|Total offense Allowed per game||330.3 ypg (14th)|
|Turnovers generated||9 (7 INT, 2 Fumble recoveries - Jaguars are +3 in TO margin)|
Expected Jaguars starting defense for Week 5
Other key defensive pieces
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Jaguars defense
1. It's Not Sacksonville…yet
After the 2017 opener in which they registered ten sacks against the Texans, the Jaguars renamed their defensive front/pass rush "Sacksonville." This year's pass rush isn't quite on that level, but it's moving in that direction. Powerful and stout interior players. Diverse, athletic inside-out threats and dynamic edge rushers combine to make this a really difficult matchup for the Texans offensive line. Josh Allen and Travon Walker will get the headlines as the flashy edge rusher and for good reason. But, Roy Robertson-Harris is a problem and has always been a menace up front. Foley Fatukasi is a major key to what they do defensively, but he was injured last weekend. His presence, or absence, is a big key to this game.
2. Devin's a Dawg
On Draft night, most of the NFL world had an idea that Jacksonville was going to draft either uber-talented Travon Walker or uber-productive Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick. That wasn't so much the case at pick No. 33, the first pick in the second round. But, as the first round continued, they saw Utah LB Devin Lloyd sitting there around pick No. 27. So, they called Tampa Bay, made a trade and made one of the best selections of the first round. Lloyd has been the alpha for that defense, alongside Walker, who is one heck of a player in his own right. Against the team the Texans just faced - the Los Angeles Chargers - Lloyd dominated the game and the stat sheet - seven tackles, three passes defensed and an interception. His ability to play the run and pass equally well pops on tape, which was why I had him number 12 overall in the 2022 Harris 100, 15 spots ahead of where he was taken. Re-draft last year's draft and he's in the top five, at a minimum. He's that good and the Texans must account for him on every play.
3. 3rd down conversions
I just am not going to get cute about this anymore. There's no cute saying. There's no other way to spin it - this Texans offense has to start producing on third down or it's going to be a long season. The Texans are 14 for 52 on third down through the first four games. That's 26.9%. Bump that up to 38.62%, the median for third down conversions in the league, and that's six more third down conversions through four games. Imagine one more conversion in EACH game this year, and two more in a couple of games. Just one of those third and ones against the Bears. A key third down pickup against the Colts in the fourth quarter. A successful conversion would change WAY more than just the next play. So, it's time to win third down and win some drives as a result.