JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2023 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Kainani Stevens – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Left Tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:They can consistently pressure Stroud on defense and give Lawrence time in the pocket. Stroud is having a great rookie season and can pick apart a defense. In the first game, the Jags didn't touch him. That can't happen again. On offense, if the offensive line controls the line of scrimmage, the Jags will light up the scoreboard.
- The Texans will win if:They control both lines of scrimmage. Offensively, when Stroud has time to operate and they get some production out of the run game, they are a potent offense. Defensively, in the first game, their front seven won the battle and made the Jags offense stagnant.
- As Boselli sees it:This is a huge division game that has real playoff implications. The Jaguars were embarrassed at home in the first matchup. Look for the Jaguars to return the favor Sunday with a dominating performance that leaves no doubt about the best team in the AFC South: Jaguars 37, Texans 17.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They get off to a good start, quiet the Houston crowd early, and get quarterback Trevor Lawerence going. He was terrific last week and the passing game will be critical here. The Jags are probably going to need to score some points. Also, they must make Stroud uncomfortable. He finally turned it over multiple times last week, so get him off his spot, make him move around. That is critical.
- The Texans will win if: They protect Stroud and if he can find early rhythm. They also need to stick around — the Texans have found ways to win late when games are close.
- As Frangie sees it: The Texans have had an odd season. They are 6-4, have won three of the last four, but the one loss was to Carolina, possibly the worst team in the league. Young teams can be sporadic and Houston is young. If the Jags play a solid, clean game, they should win
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Defensive End
- The Jaguars will win if: They prevent the big plays from a vertical Houston offense. Stroud is having an Most Valuable Player-type of year and he's not doing it alone as he has two fast wide receivers in Tank Dell and Nico Collins.
- The Texans will win if: They force the Jaguars offense into turning the ball over. The environment will be incredibly loud. Lawrence, the Jaguars' offensive line and weapons will be challenged to remain on the same page.
- As Lageman sees it: This is the new AFC South rivalry: Two young great quarterbacks that will be battling for a decade or more against each other. It's two great head coaches battling wits as well. The Texans have had the Jaguars' number for the most part since the beginning and the Jags will have to be on their game to win. Week 3 might have been a lack of respect from the Jaguars toward the Texans, but make no mistake: There is plenty of respect now. This should be a great environment and a great game..
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: They contain the explosive plays from Houston's offense. The Texans are beating teams down the field with a lot of big plays and most defenses want to make sure an offense doesn't do that. I think if the Jags keep things in front of them Sunday, they will force Stroud and the Texans into some impatient plays that result in turnovers.
- The Texans will win if: They run effectively. Everyone is talking about Stroud, but it's Houston's running attack that is opening things up for the offense. Running back Devin Singletary has 262 yards rushing the last two weeks and now goes up against a Jaguars defense ranked top five in the NFL against the run.
- As Martineau sees it: This is a fun one and it might be like this for years. I'm not that concerned with how well the Texans have played relative to expectations. My concern is the Jaguars have a hard time beating Houston no matter who is playing or coaching. They lost 10 of the last 11, 16 of the last 19 and 21 of the last 26 against Houston. Head Coach Doug Pederson has been a trend killer in his two seasons in Jacksonville. He slays this one again with a 31-23 win over the Texans on the road.
John Oehser, jaguars.com Senior Writer
- The Jaguars will win if: The plan smart, consistent and play to their standard. The Jaguars gave away multiple scoring opportunities offensively in a Week 3 loss to the Texans, allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked, missed a field goal and miscommunicated badly on two long defensive plays that led to touchdowns. If the Jaguars play to their standard Sunday, they should win.
- The Texans will win if: The run well and hit big plays offensively. The Texans have depended on big plays from Stroud much of the season and have run well in recent weeks. If they combine those elements Sunday, it will be tough for a Jaguars offense that has been inconsistent this season to keep pace.
- As Oehser sees it: The thought here is the Jaguars are the better team. They gave away a lot in Week 3. If they play close to mistake-free they should remain unbeaten on the road this season.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com Senior Correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They convert third down and score in the red zone. They were good last week and it's hard to argue with 34 points, but the Texans are better than the Tennessee Titans. It's going to require better execution and production. The Jaguars have been substandard on third down all season long and it has killed their offensive tempo time and again. They're going to have to put up points against Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud and it would help to stay on the field, which wouldn't hurt the defensive effort as well.
- The Texans will win if: They protect the football. Stroud has been outstanding all season, primarily because he has avoided the usual rookie turnover plague. The Jaguars have lost the last 20 games in which they have failed to create a turnover. If the Texans protect the football, they give themselves great odds to win.
- As Sexton sees it: This game is the AFC South Championship Game and that favors the Jaguars. They're a more veteran team and they've been in big games with consequences such as victories over the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers games late last season. That's not to exclude every game in that stretch that set up their run. I think for that reason the Jaguars are likely to walk out of NRG Stadium on Sunday 8-3 and on the fast track to back-to-back division titles.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com Senior Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They hang onto the football on offense and keep the big plays by the Texans offense to a minimum. Stroud and Dell have been a deadly combination for the Texans, so the back end of the Jaguars defense will be tested. The pass rush for the Jaguars must cause havoc so Stroud does not have the time to look deep.
- The Texans will win if: They get a couple takeaways from the Jaguars offense. If the Jaguars offense is as efficient as it was last week they should be in good shape. If the Texans are bothering Lawrence, then it could be tough to move it down the field.
- As Shadrick sees it: It's a big ballgame, and could define the final month and a half of the season. Nothing is final after this week, but the picture of what's needed to get into the playoffs or to the division title becomes much clearer. It's the biggest Texans home game in years, so the environment should be rowdy. We will see if the Jaguars have the punch to take command of the division.
Kainani Stevens, Jaguars.com Team Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: Their offense can do what it did last week. Lawrence was named AFC Player of the Week after a four-touchdown performance against the Titans. The Jaguars will need to score early and often Sunday so they can set the tone for the game.
- The Texans will win if: They take advantage of the Jaguars secondary. Cornerback Tyson Campbell has not practiced this week and will likely miss a second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. The Jaguars got beat on the deep ball twice against the Texans in Week 3 and last week against the Titans. Quick scores for Houston will give the Texans their best chance at victory.
- As Stevens sees it: The Jaguars don't technically need to win Sunday, but they should want to send a message as the defending AFC South champs. I believe Jacksonville will take care of business, 31-14.