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 EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Left Tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:The offensive line plays as it is capable. The group has not controlled the line of scrimmage in the first two games, and that needs to change starting this week if this offense is going to play to its potential. The Jaguars need to get the run game going early so they can take advantage of all the weapons they have at the skill positions.
- The Texans will win if:They win the turnover margin, and defensively win the line of scrimmage. If they give Stroud and the Texans offense some short fields, they have a great chance to get this into the fourth quarter and make it interesting.
- As Boselli sees it:This is an early season critical game for the Jaguars after the tough loss last week – and with the Texans being a divisional opponent, as well as a team they should beat. I think this is a get- right game for an offense that is out of sync. Offense has a huge day. Jags 38, Texans 17.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They put the ills of last week behind them and get back to being themselves on offense. The key is improved line play. That group has struggled. All five current starters have had injury concerns either in camp or later; so, hopefully they get well. The Jags need to attack early and regain some offensive confidence. And the defense just needs to keep playing as physically as they have been. They need to harass Stroud.
- The Texans will win if: They win the trenches when the Jags are on offense, as the Chiefs did. That is key. And they need Stroud to hit a few plays down the field to loosen that physical Jags defense.
- As Frangie sees it: The Jags have a much better team, are at home and probably are a bit ticked off. The Jaguars will get after it here and should win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Defensive End
- The Jaguars will win if: They find some rhythm offensively. The first two games of the season have seen the Jaguars' defense playing winning football while the offense has sputtered in many facets. Improvement needs to be made across all position groups for progress to be made. The Jaguars' offense needs to have confidence, focus and fun in the process.
- The Texans will win if: They win the turnover battle by a plus-two ratio on the road. The Texans haven't lost in Jacksonville since December of 2017, so confidence will not be a problem for a young team looking to play free without expectations. Early Texans success could tighten up the Jaguars.
- As Lageman sees it: This game is big; if you are going to be who you thought you were, you win games like this. The Texans are in a rebuilding mode with a young talented rookie quarterback and a defensive front seven that shouldn't overwhelm anyone. Early success with a balanced offense should provide Lawrence time to find some holes against a pretty good (when healthy) secondary. A "W" will get Lawrence's divisional record to .500 as well.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: The running backs touch it 25 times. The talk in Jacksonville has been about getting the offense cooking. A few touchdowns would help. A better third-down conversion rate would help. The Jaguars leaning a bit more on their running backs, especially Etienne would help. Etienne is one of their home-run hitters and needs to be more involved.
- The Texans will win if: Running back Dameon Pierce has more than 120 yards. Pierce has been quiet so far this season. If Pierce gets going, that could set up Stroud to have a comfortable game and give the Texans a good chance for the upset.
- As Martineau sees it: The Jaguars will bounce back in this one. The offense is too good and too proud to lay an egg again. The defense is playing with a lot of juice. This is a take-care-of-business game for the Jaguars. It's a good start in the AFC South after a 34-13 win.
John Oehser, jaguars.com Senior Writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They play relaxed on offense and protect Lawrence. Jaguars offensive players this week said they pressed too much against the Chiefs last week, trying too hard to make big plays. There's enough talent on this offense to make big plays if these talented offensive players just play within the scheme.
- The Texans will win if: They pressure Lawrence into mistakes and give Stroud time. Stroud, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, has looked impressive in the first two games and could be poised for a breakout game. The Jaguars must take advantage of what should be a matchup edge against an injured Texans front.
- As Oehser sees it: This is the sort of game division champions win. The Jaguars are the more talented team, with the more advanced quarterback. If they play within their offense, which they should, this should be a game in which they take control in the second half.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com Senior Correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They control the line of scrimmage. That means running on offense. The identity of this team will be its high-octane passing attack, but through two weeks it looks more like regular unleaded than premium. They can get where they want to be by getting the offensive line into a tough, physical, nasty mindset and giving the ball to running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and Tank Bigsby. If the Jaguars can run, they will make the Texans think twice about sending everything at quarterback Trevor Lawrence. That should give Lawrence time to throw and calm everything down.
- The Texans will win if: The create turnovers and field position for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Texans don't have a high-octane offense with a rookie quarterback and an unknown group of receivers. Stroud is completing 66 percent of his passes and has thrown 91 times in his first two games, so they're not afraid to play to his strengths. If the Jaguars make it easy on him with extra possessions and good field position, the Texans can win.
- As Sexton sees it: The Jaguars will get on track against a team in full-scale rebuilding mode with its third head coach in three seasons. They have an exciting young head coach in DeMeco Ryans, cap room and extra draft picks thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade. They also have a franchise quarterback to build around. They shouldn't be down long, but they're not a good team in Week 3 and the Jaguars should be entirely focused on themselves after a difficult loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. I expect the Jaguars to win by a comfortable margin.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com Senior Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They execute better in key moments. Red-zone, third-down, goal-to-go … just convert half of them, and it will be marked improvement from last week. This isn't just passer and receiver making plays, but this is the offensive line finishing plays and the running backs hitting the proper lanes. Everyone must improve.
- The Texans will win if: They keep the Jaguars' offense in second- and third-and-long situations throughout the game and let the young pass rushers and solid interior defensive linemen get to work. This could still be a difficult challenge. Also, if Stroud has all day to throw – as he often did at Ohio State – he can pick you apart. He has been hit 19 times this season and sacked 11 times. The Jaguars must ensure that that trend continues.
- As Shadrick sees it: This is a game the Jaguars should handle if they are to be the dominant team in the AFC South. However, there is enough to clean up for the Jaguars from last week that this is far from a given. The Texans play hard, and they are a team with young talent in a number of spots that contribute. A fast start is important to get the Texans out of the game. Erase any hope early.
Kainani Stevens, Team Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They can execute. Sorry to use the phrase of the week, but it truly will come down to execution on offense for the Jags. The Jaguars are the better football team and I think only they can beat themselves on Sunday.
- The Texans will win if: They can find a way to protect Stroud. The Texans are in the very beginning stages of rebuild mode, but Jaguars fans have seen that a rebuild can happen quickly. Right now, Stroud is throwing a ton because Houston has not been able to establish the run. If the Texans can score early and play with a lead, that will be their best chance at sneaking out of Jacksonville with their first win of the season.
- As Stevens sees it: The Jaguars will get back on track and improve to 2-0 in the division. I hope to see the offense stick to the run game and open things up again for the passing game. It won't take a herculean effort from the defense this time to stay in the game, but it would be nice to see some consistency in the pass rush.