Originally written on The Jaggernaut  |  Last updated 9/16/12

The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) will host the Houston Texans (1-0) in their home opener at Everbank Field on Sunday, in a divisional game that the Jaguars need to win. Last week, the Jaguars lost a heartbreaker in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings, while the Texans defeated the Miami Dolphins at home. With the slew of injuries in Jacksonville as of late, Sunday’s game may be a tough task for the Jaguars.

Maurice Jones-Drew, who recently returned to the team, will have to shoulder the load in the running game, as ‘opening day starter’ Rashad Jennings was injured early into the contest in Minnesota last week. It will also be an important game for second-year QB Blaine Gabbert, who looks much improved under Mike Mularkey than he did in his rookie season. With the key injuries to the Jaguars defense, the offense may have to light up the scoreboard to have a chance against the Houston Texans, who are the favorites to win the AFC South this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, LB Daryl Smith will again miss the game with a groin injury, while CB Derek Cox is listed as questionable. As it was expected last week, the absence of Smith and Cox would hurt the defense, and it certainly did. It’s no secret that Houston’s offense, especially through the air, is more powerful than Minnesota’s, so the Jaguars defense will have a tough challenge on Sunday, when Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson come to town.

Out for the Jaguars will be DE Austen Lane, DE George Selvie, OT Cameron Bradfield, and RB Rashad Jennings. OL Eben Britton, and as mentioned, CB Derek Cox, are both listed as questionable to play. Also, OT Daniel Baldridge was activated from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster before this game.

If the Jaguars aren’t able to pull out the win on Sunday, it could set up a dangerous game in Indianapolis next week, as the team would risk the chance of starting the season with a record of (0-3). However, if the Jaguars win tomorrow, they’ll likely claim first place in the AFC South. Either way, it’s a very important game, despite the fact that it’s early in the season.

Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm. Next week, the Jaguars will travel to Indianapolis to face the Andrew Luck and the Colts. Go Jaguars!

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