HOUSTON – Here's the matchup breakdown for Texans - Jaguars.
Clearly the Texans have the edge at quarterback considering Deshaun Watson is coming off a 4 TD (3 passing, 1 rushing) performance in the Texans near upset of New Orleans, while Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew will be making his first-ever NFL start.
Minshew was borderline spectacular last week in his NFL debut in relief of the injured Nick Foles, completing 22-of-25 passes with a pair of touchdowns and one interception. Watson is one of the league's elite playmakers but is also the only quarterback to get sacked six times in week one.
The Texans possess an elite group of receivers that showed very well in week one. DeAndre Hopkins scored twice and had the first reception, a 38-yarder, on the Texans two-play drive in the final minute that led to the go-ahead touchdown. Hopkins finished with eight receptions for 113 yards, while Will Fuller caught a pair for 69 yards and newcomer Kenny Stills had three catches for 37 yards including the touchdown pass with 37 seconds remaining to put the Texans in front.
Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark each hauled in touchdowns in week one and will provide some challenges for the Texans secondary. Chark caught all four of his targets for 146 yards. He had just 174 yards all of last season. Marqise Lee is out again this week for Jacksonville.
Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson provided much more in the ground game, than could have been expected as each were making their Texans debut. Hyde ran 10 times for 83 yards, while Johnson added 57 yards on nine carries. Each also had a run of at least 20 yards.
Jaguars Leonard Fournette only had 13 carries with Jacksonville playing from behind throughout their game against the Chiefs. He did rumble for 66 yards, good for 5.1 yards a pop.
The Texans offensive line picked back up where they left off a season ago, which is not a good thing. Watson was sacked six times and was pressured on over 45 percent of his dropbacks. Houston will like to see top draft pick Tytus Howard make his NFL debut this week at left guard as he recovers from a broken finger suffered during training camp. Almost by default, the Jaguars group takes the edge in this matchup, though they are not regarded to be among the league's better units.
The Texans struggled to stop the run and put virtually no pressure on Drew Brees in their first game since the Jadeveon Clowney trade. J.J. Watt had zero tackles and zero quarterback hits for the first time in his career. Even with Whitney Mercilus picking up a sack and an interception, this group did not have a good debut.
The Jaguars have had great success against the Texans over the years, including last year's season finale when they sacked Watson six times. The Jaguars get Myles Jack back in the lineup after he was ejected for throwing a punch last week. But they will be without Yannick Ngakoue who is out with an injury. Ngakoue has piled up 10 QB hits, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles against Houston in the last four meetings.
Hard to grade out the Texans secondary too well after they were regularly picked apart by Brees and the Saints last week, especially considering how easily they moved into field goal range, gaining 35 yards on three plays to set up the game-winning field goal. Bradley Roby had an impressive debut with the Texans, producing nine tackles, including eight solo stops. Tashaun Gipson had a rather quiet team debut after leaving the Jaguars for the Texans this offseason.
Jacksonville will be without cornerback A.J. Bouye due to injury, but that'll still leave Jalen Ramsey on the field and he is one of the league's best. He'll be defending Hopkins all across the field and that is the matchup to watch.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has three division championships but still has issues managing his timeouts and the clock - as do nearly all fellow NFL head coaches. He, along with new offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith had a well-designed game plan for the Saints and will need another for Jacksonville.
O'Brien is 8-3 all-time against Jacksonville. He and Jaguars coach Doug Marrone are very close friends and have each other since their very early days in coaching. Marrone has lost three of his five games against Houston.