Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris breaks down a lot…

Today is week 17 and the Texans will face the AFC South leading Jacksonville Jaguars. Is that so; After a 15-game marathon, the Jaguars lead the AFC South, winning five of their last seven games and four in a row. They got a little help from the good guys last week as the Texans took out the Titans in Nashville 19-14, which opened the door for the young, talented and hungry Jaguars to step into the sunshine for the first time since 2017.

QB Trevor Lawrence has also seen the light and is driving Doug Pederson’s offense like Lewis Hamilton is driving his Mercedes around an F1 track – with courage, dedication and intelligence. In week five, though, the Jaguars offense faltered in a loss to the Texans that scored a season-high six touchdowns. Oh, how things have changed! In their last seven games, the Jaguars have averaged 25.8 points per game and 30 points per game in their five wins over that seven game span.

The Texans held them to six in Duval County in week five.

That’s a long time in football and the Jaguars have improved as much as any team in the NFL. Now, the game is interesting because the result has no bearing on Jaguars AFC South goals. That said, it could have an impact on the jaguar’s prospects. Not to mention, the Jaguars haven’t beaten the Texans in five years. Plus, the Texans are playing their best football of the year. Considering all of that, this should be as compelling a Texans football game as we’ve seen in the 2022 season.

So, let’s get to know the Texans’ Week 17 Foe – the AFC South division that leads the Jacksonville Jaguars

2022 Schedule (7-8) Week 1 – L @ Washington Commanders 28-26 Week 2 – W Indianapolis Colts 24-0 Week 3 – @ Los Angeles Chargers 38-10 Week 4 – L @ Philadelphia Eagles 29-21 Week 5 – L Houston Texans 13-6 Week 6 – L @ Indianapolis Colts 34-27 Week 7 – L New York Giants 23-17 Week 8 – L Denver Broncos (London) 21-17 Week 9 – W Las Vegas Raiders 27-20 Week 10 – L @ Kansas City Chiefs 27-17 Week 11 – BYE Week 12 – W Baltimore Ravens 28-27 Week 13 – L @ Detroit Lions 40-14 Week 14 – W @ Tennessee Titans 36 -22 Week 15 – W Dallas Cowboys 40-34 Week 16 – W @ New York Jets 19-3 Week 17 – @ Houston Texans Week 18 – Tennessee Titans

OFFENSE Jaguars (in 2022 regular season) Rushing Yards Per Game – 128.5 ypg (11th in NFL) Passing Yards Per Game – 239.2 ypg (10th) Total Offense Per Game – 367.7 ypg (6th) Turnovers Lost – 19 (7 INT) Fumbles lost)

Jaguars expected starting offense for week 17 QB – Trevor Lawrence RB – Travis Etienne WR – KIRK WR – Marvin Jones Jr. WR – ZAY JONES TE – EVAN ENGRAM LT – Walker Little LG – Tyler Shatley C – LUKE FORTNER RG – FFER FFANDON v. Jets injured, status unknown) RT – Jawaan Taylor Weapon X – Jamal Agnew

Other Key Offense TE – Chris Manhertz TE – Luke Farrell RB – JAMYCAL HASTY RB – SNOOP CONNER WR – Tim Jones TE – Dan Arnold

Italics – Rookie ALL CAPS – New to the team in 2022

Keys to success v. Jaguars offense

1. New Trevor, Part 2 – Since the beginning of November, perhaps no QB in the NFL has been on the run like 2nd year Jaguars star QB Trevor Lawrence. He threw one interception in seven games. ONE! He also threw that interception in a game where he threw four TD passes, completing 27 of 42 passes for 318 yards and 109.0 in a 40-34 OT win over the Cowboys. He threw 14 TDs to one INT in a seven game season. He had three 300 yard games, in addition to FIVE 100+ QB rating games and the Jaguars were 5-2 as a result. Irrespective of the statistics, he was very interesting, throwing in the big windows and mind. His decision making is not good in this Doug Pederson offense. He takes risks with the ball and sees the whole field. He wasn’t doing it 100% of the time when the Texans faced him in October. He is a changed QB and this has the Jaguars in contention, maybe a year earlier than most expected.

2. …and NEW CHAMPION – Near the end of the trade, the Jaguars traded their first RB to the New York Jets and could complete the offense as a result. Yes, it seems backward to think so, but the trade of James Robinson opened the door for Travis Etienne to become the number one, Alpha, starter and the Jaguars offense rose as a result. Of course, Lawrence drove the bus, but Etienne must have been controlling the GPS on the way. His speed to the hole is proportional to his explosion through the hole. He wears number one so sometimes it looks like he might be a little smaller than some backs, but he’s 210 lb. He gave the Texans the lead early in the game, but the Jaguars chipped away at him in the second half. I don’t think that will be the case this week AT ALL. Etienne carries this offense all over and will get 20+ touches for sure.

3. Red Zone Winners – The Jaguars have scored twice in every game this season, except one. Yes, in the loss to the Texans in week five, the Jaguars scored only six points. One of Jacksonville’s issues is an inability to score TDs in the red zone. Derek Stingley Jr. took a pass in the end zone to stop one drive. The Texans then forced a field goal with another trip to the red zone. That must continue this weekend on a better, more efficient Jaguars offense.

Jaguars DEFENSE (in 2022 regular season) Passes Allowed per game – 114.7 ypg (19th in NFL) Passes Allowed per game – 246.5 ypg (4th) Total Offense allowed per game – 361.1 ypg (26th – 2) INT conversions, 11 fumble recoveries – Jaguars were +5 on TO side)

Jaguars expected starting defense for Week 17 OLB – Josh Allen DL – FOLEY FATUKASI (Not active last week at NYJ)/COREY PETERS DL – DaVon Hamilton DL – Roy Robertson-Harris OLB – TRAVON WALKER (unemployed practice last week at NYJ)/ARDEN KEY WLB – DEVIN LLOYD/CHAD MUMA MLB – FOYE OLUOKUN CB – Tyson Campbell S – Rayshawn Jenkins S – Andre Cisco CB – DARIOUS WILLIAMS 5c – Tre Herndon

Other Key Defensive DL – Adam Gotsis S – Andrew Wingard OLB – K’Lavon Chiasson LB – Shaq Quarterman DL – JEREMIAH LEDBETTER

Italics – Rookie ALL CAPS – New to the team in 2022

Keys to success v. Jaguars defense

1. Oh-LOU-a-kuhn spells S-T-U-D – The Texans faced a lot of great inside/throw linebackers in the 2022 season, but there may not be a more important linebacker to his defense than Jaguars star LB Foye Oluokun. When the Texans faced the former Ivy League quarterback in week five, it became clear how important he was to the Jaguars’ defense. He is quick to the ball and his instincts and smarts are very impressive. He’s quick to the football and that’s because the Texans offense doesn’t always do a great job of getting the hat on the mobile, active and tight ends. Oluokun can destroy the game with his ability to move quickly from C to C. The Texans must have a cap on him in this game or he will end up with a dozen or more, slowing the game to a halt.

2. Tyson’s Knockout Coverage – Growing up in high school, Tyson Campbell was definitely overlooked. A man named Patrick Surtain II made all the headlines at American Heritage HS. Even against Georgia’s star defensive end, he was overshadowed by some of the nation’s best defensive players. Well, it’s time for Campbell to just have his lunch, if you will. He is emerging as not only Jacksonville’s best cover corner, he is, clearly, the best cover corner in the AFC South. With length and a ton of range, Campbell is becoming a guy teams don’t want to challenge. The Texans did the same with Nico Collins in the last game, but because Nico is 6-4, 215 lb. Unfortunately, Nico will not be playing in this game and, as a result, I want to avoid throwing at Campbell. while.

3. Starting QB…Jeff Mills? – The Texans used the two QB system well, in large part, because both Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel were very skilled at it. They accepted the situation and took full advantage of it. But, if Davis Mills shows early in this game the same talent he showed on that last drive against Tennessee, it might be time to let him take the game back in his hands. Historically, while a Texan, Mills thrived when he started the game well. A shaky start didn’t kill his chances (2021 final v. Tennessee comes to mind) but in the games I really remember, he found that bonus early and carried it through the entire game, for the most part. But, if he can’t find a groove, just let the two continue to rotate until they find the right tools for this offense against the 26th ranked defense in the league.

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