Finally, real NFL games are less than a week away. The Jacksonville Jaguars start off the season with a division rival, the Houston Texans. The Jaguars figure to be in for a very emotional game playing in Houston where Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts are in full effect; a tough test may be even tougher this Sunday. However, if a few Jacksonville Jaguars keys to Victory can happen they should be able to leave Houston Sunday night with a victory.
Week One Jacksonville Jaguars Keys to Victory
The Offensive Line needs to play better, and fast
The Jaguars offensive line has been nothing short of a train wreck this preseason. Outside of left tackle and center the rest of the offensive line has had serious troubles. Too provide evidence of this, Doug Marrone said Monday afternoon that they have yet to name a starting left guard and the game is six days away.
The Texans defensive line is very stout as is. Going up against a team with troubles at both guard spots and right tackle along with a rookie left tackle and they should feast. The Jaguars offensive line needs to step up or this offense is going to have some serious troubles.
Blake Bortles needs to play mistake free, move the ball
Blake Bortles was named the starter last week after having to battle it out with Chad Henne. That should be all you need to know about how Bortles’ off-season has gone. Bortles has shown serious flaws in footwork and mechanics as he did last year. But the key for him this season is to limit the turnovers. If he can take what the defense gives him and hand it off to Leonard Fournette this offense can have some success. It all hinges on him staying away from the back-breaking turnovers.
The edge rush needs to get home
This is the big question with a talented Jaguars defense. They have one of the best cornerback duo’s in the NFL with Jalen Ramsey opposite A.J. Bouye. They have a very high upside linebacker group with Telvin Smith, Myles Jack, and Paul Posluszny. They have Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell who can get good push inside on third downs (Campbell will be on the outside on first and second downs). On the outside is where things get called into question.
Yannick Ngakoue is coming off a very good rookie season where he broke the Jaguars rookie sack record with eight. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown the qualities to be a high-end pass rusher that can consistently get good pressure. Outside of him, creating pressure is scarce.
Dante Fowler has shown flashes in the past but ultimately is more of a run defender than pass rusher at this point in time. Both of these players have to be more disruptive to give the Jaguars a better chance to stop their offense.
This game is going to be a low scoring game that is won by the team with less turnovers. If the Jaguars offensive line can open some holes for Fournette to run to daylight, then the Jaguars have a fairly solid shot at taking this. Subsequently, not forcing Bortles to throw 40 plus times like he’s had to do over his NFL career is key.