Game two of the Houston Texans’ 2012 season has them hitting the road take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Texans enter the game 1-0 after dominating the Miami Dolphins 31-10 last Sunday while the Jags head into today’s game 0-1 after losing a close one in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings a week ago. For the Texans, this is the second week in a row they’re heavy favorites and should walk away 2-0. However, AFC South contests have a knack for staying competitive regardless of how much more talented one team might be over another.
Stop RB Maurice Jones-Drew
The Jaguars offense has been generally anemic the past several seasons, especially in the passing game. That’s why the success of Jones-Drew is even more incredible than he gets credit for. Last season’s NFL rushing champ held out the entire preseason, leaving those to believe he might not be ready for week one. It wasn’t his best performance, but MJD still rushed for 77 yards. As Jones-Drew gets back into game shape, he should regain form and get back to dominating football games. It’s essential for the Texans to key MJD and prevent him from beating them defensively. Similar to the Texans, the Jags ideally would feature a balanced offensive attack with a nice mix of the run and play-action pass, making things easier for QB Blaine Gabbert. The Texans need to shut down MJD and force the rest of the Jags’ offense to beat them.
Force QB Blaine Gabbert Into Mistakes
For the second week in a row, the Texans are squaring off against a young, inexperienced quarterback. Gabbert had a rough rookie season, but was surprisingly solid for long stretches last week against the Vikings with the help of a revamped receiving corps. That being said, Gabbert is going to face a much better defense this week with a fiercer pass rush. If the Texans are indeed able to shut down or marginalize Jones-Drew, it will put the ball in Gabbert’s hand and forces him to win the game. Forcing the Jags into obvious passing downs by stopping MJD allows the defense to rush Gabbert, which is when he’s primed to make mistakes.
Continue Working On The Run Game
Last Sunday’s rushing performance was very un-Texan like. We’ve gone to length to point out the troubles of the offensive line all week and have pinpointed their improvement as vital to the Texans entire 2012 campaign. This week against a lesser opponent, the Texans’ O-line will have another chance to smooth out their problems and get on the same page. When the Texans matchup with the stronger NFL teams later in the season, their ability to run the football, have a balanced offense, and chew clock (especially against the offensive juggernaut teams) will be critical to their overall success.
Texans O-line vs. Jaguars Front-7
BIG GAME ALERT
QB Matt Schaub
As the run the game continues to work itself out, like it was trying to last week, Schaub will have to carry the offensive load. Against the Dolphins, Schaub once again proved his consistency and stability, completing 65% of his passes for 266 yards and one TD. More importantly, Schaub rarely makes mistakes while leading the offense in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. Many view Schaub as a glorified game-managing QB, but when needed, he can light it up. Whether the Texans are able to run the ball or not, they’ll certainly hand it off a ton, allowing Schaub and the rest of the offense to stick to their typical game plan, so any fear of Schaub being forced to do too much shouldn’t be a concern. Look for Schaub to possibly top 300 yards this week and perhaps throw more than one TD, although that’s difficult to expect when the Texans almost exclusively run the ball inside the 10-yard line on first and second down. One thing Texans fans can count on from Schaub is a near mistake-free game.
Like week one, this is another tune up game for the Texans. They’re heavily favored and baring a disastrous performance, they should win handily. Expect the Texans to be 2-0 heading into their big road contest with the Denver Broncos in week three.
Texans 28, Jaguars 13
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