The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off one of the more heartbreaking losses in recent memory and have a tough bounce back game at home against the division rival Houston Texans. The Jaguars are looking to be 1-1 for the third straight season and avoid a 0-2 hole. A win against the Texans would be considered a massive upset as most consider them the heavy favorites in the AFC South, but it is the Jaguars home opener so anything could happen.
Here is a look at a couple storylines going into the Jaguars Week 2 match-up.
Banged Up Cats
The Jaguars could be without seven players this Sunday. On the offensive side of the ball left guard Eben Britton, right tackle Cameron Bradfield and running back Rashad Jennings are expected to be out. On defense the Jaguars will likely be without linebacker Daryl Smith, cornerback Derek Cox and defensive ends Austen Lane and George Selvie.
The offensive line injuries could be a major factor in pass blocking one of the best pass rushing teams in the Texans. Expect the Jaguars to fashion an offensive scheme that utilizes quick passes and screens to help slow down the Texans pass rush.
The defensive injuries hurt the Jaguars last week against the Minnesota Vikings. Without Smith they could have problems bottling up Arian Foster and without Cox they could have problems covering Andre Johnson.
Improved Blaine Gabbert?
Gabbert had the best game of his NFL career a week ago in Minnesota, but his new found confidence in the pocket will surely be tested this Sunday against the Texans. If Gabbert can have another solid performance against one of the leagues best defenses, it will go a long way towards changing his perception nationally.
Maurice Jones-Drew Returns To The Spotlight
Without Jennings in the lineup on Sunday, Jones-Drew will return to his role as the Jaguars workhorse runner. If the Jaguars offense is going to move the ball consistently, they are going to need Jones-Drew to rack up yards.
The Texans are a tough matchup for the Jaguars when they are healthy, but the Jaguars are far from healthy. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the Jaguars come out on top in this one, but I expect them to keep it relatively close.
Texans 27 Jaguars 17