Texans vs. Jaguars: How Houston Will Attack Jacksonville in Week 2
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The Houston Texans are in for a fight.
No matter what anyone thinks about the Jaguars or Blaine Gabbert, only a fool would look past Sunday's clash in Jacksonville.
If Houston doesn't play well in Week 2, they will lose.
Of course, the Texans do plan on playing well, and if they follow this game plan, they will likely finish the week at 2-0 and in firm control of the division.
The Texans can run and throw effectively, so they aren't going to let the Jaguars dictate terms to them.
Jacksonville will likely be without Daryl Smith and Derek Cox, their best linebacker and corner. Take two key components away from any defense, and it's going to take a step backwards.
The main area the Texans are going to focus on against Jacksonville will be execution in the red zone. They shouldn't struggle to move the ball, but the Jaguars will happily make them settle for field goals, much the way Miami did.
Houston failed in the red zone twice against Miami. The first drive failed, thanks to a blown block and a sack on second down. The second red-zone drive ended as Schaub took pressure in his face and misfired on third down.
The Texans' offensive line likely won't have the same problem with the Jaguars pass rush as it did against Miami. The Dolphins had the better pass rush in 2011, and Jacksonville generated little heat on Christian Ponder in Week 1.
Houston will look to keep Andre Branch neutralized for the second straight week. He was tossed around like a rag doll by Matt Kalil of Minnesota, and Duane Brown will seek to treat him roughly as well.
If Cox doesn't play, Houston should have no trouble going to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels as often as they wish. The Jaguars gave up big yards to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph last week, so the Texans' lack of a big threat at the second-receiver spot shouldn't hurt.
As long as Houston hangs on to the football, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to execute their game plan of letting Arian Foster, Schaub, Johnson and Daniels do the heavy lifting.
If Gabbert really is better in the pocket and under a rush, the Texans are going to make him prove it.
Jacksonville simply doesn't have the offense to punish the Texans deep on blitzes, so Houston will be free to completely tee off.
Against Miami, they threw every kind of look possible at Ryan Tannehill.
They lined up in a classic Cover 2 Shell.
They ran a 5-2.
They brought seven men up on the line, blitzing five, and making the Dolphins guess who was dropping into coverage.
Wade Phillips will likely construct the same kind of diverse looks for the Jaguars. It's anyone's guess as to what the quarterback will see from play to play. That makes it difficult for a young quarterback like Gabbert to ever feel comfortable in his pre-snap read.
Houston will have to contend with Maurice Jones-Drew at some point in the game. It has been said before, but the Texans can be had in the middle of the field. Teams will have to be committed to running the ball to beat them, however.
Houston will be more than content to let the Jaguars inch up and down the field, knowing that on any long-yardage play, they will have the opportunity to overwhelm the Jaguars' line and create turnovers.
It's a carbon copy of what they did last week, as the Texans will dare Jacksonville stop them.
This is not the mismatch some believe. Houston has just one win in their last four trips to Jacksonville, and that came last year by just a touchdown.
Make no mistake, Houston is the pick in this game, and it's unlikely they come in soft, having overlooked the Jaguars. If they do, they are vulnerable.
Still, a team like Houston isn't going to change what the do to stop the Jaguars. They are going to try and dictate terms of the fight.
The Texans look focused and locked in. It's early in the season, and I can't see Houston trying to take a week off this soon.
Look for the Texans to prevail in a close, even-tense game.
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