The Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to NRG Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Houston Texans to kick off the regular season. The Jaguars finished 1-15 and were able to secure the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select quarterback Trevor Lawrence. They also drafted running back Travis Etienne but he suffered a Lisfranc injury and could miss a prolonged period of time. The Houston Texans went 4-12 last year but a lot has changed with Deshaun Watson not starting due to some litigation he is dealing with but instead Tyrod Taylor will be starting under center. This seems to be a very long season for Houston as they are not a very good team.
This matchup will be interesting as they are divisional opponents and the Texans were able to win both games last season. However, a lot has changed so it will be interesting to see how these franchises play in the season opener and how we should bet here.
Will There Be a Sophomore Slump?All the eyes will be on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and for good reason, but it will be important to see how running back James Robinson will be used this season. The franchise drafted running back Travis Etienne in the first round of the NFL Draft but he is injured. Robinson finished 2020 with 240 attempts for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns but was also a factor in the passing game with 49 catches for 344 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He ran the ball 38 times between the two games against the Texans last year and finished with 147 yards with a touchdown. If he can figure out how to repeat production as he did in his rookie season, it will really help the Jaguars' offense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars struggled last season as they allowed 28.3 points per game and gave up 57 total touchdowns (34 passing, 23 rushing). This defense isn’t going to improve overnight but they have solid pieces in there with linebackers Myles Jack and Josh Allen as well as adding cornerback Shaquill Griffin in the offseason from
Cooks-ing up DefensesThere has been a lot of talk around the Houston Texans but not enough about wide receiver Brandin Cooks. He finished the 2020 season with 81 catches (119 targets) for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns with Deshaun Watson under center. This will be interesting as we figure out how the Tyrod Taylor-Brandin Cooks chemistry looks as Cooks is going to be his most talented receiver on the field. It will be interesting to see how rookie head coach David Culley draws up plays to get Cooks open and help move the chains.
This Houston Texans defense was not great last season as they allowed 29 points per game and 30 passing touchdowns compared to three interceptions. They lost defensive end J.J. Watt as well as just trading away cornerback Bradley Roby. This defense is going to be one that is going to be a process to rebuild as they aren’t great and only lost key pieces this offseason. It will be interesting to follow as they can be a terrible defense in a blink of an eye.
- Houston: 0-4 ATS in their last 4 September games
- Jacksonville: 5-1 ATS in their last 6 September games
- Jacksonville: 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs AFC South