JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2022 season, Jaguars "experts" – Bucky Brooks, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They take better care of the ball. Last week, as in previous games this season, receivers were open. But Lawrence must protect the ball and get passes away. The Jaguars must maintain drives. A main reason they couldn't stop the run in the second half last Sunday is the defense was on the field too long. Too many three-and-outs or turnovers from the offense.
- The Texans will win if: They force turnovers and get Pierce going on offense. The rookie from Florida is very good and is the key to Houston's offense. The Texans have been in every game but haven't finished.
- As Frangie sees it: The Jaguars have the better team, the better coach and are at home on what is expected to be a crystal-clear day. The Jaguars are in good position to get to 3-2.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
- The Jaguars will win if: They get back to protecting the football and avoiding self-inflicted mistakes. Lawrence last Sunday against the Eagles had what might have been the worst outing by any quarterback thus far in the NFL season. He must have a short memory and get back to the form that he displayed in wins against the Colts and Chargers. The Jaguars' coaching staff can help take some of the pressure off him by leaning on the running game a bit as the Texans are one of the more porous run defenses in the NFL.
- The Texans will win if: Pierce can control the game's tempo. Pierce is the league's best rookie runner, is showing improvement every week and is coming off a game in which he broke six tackles and gained 100 yards after contact. Houston second-year quarterback Davis Mills has regressed from his impressive rookie year, but he does have Cooks, who has been a star against the Jaguars.
- As Lageman sees it: The Jaguars will end the Texans' streak of eight consecutive victories in the series. This game is just shy of "must win" for the Jaguars as the fan base wants to see a different Jaguars team than the previous two seasons by winning winnable games. Lawrence will show the mental toughness that a quarterback must have to rebound from a poor performance and Jaguars running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and James Robinson will have strong performances against a Texans front seven that is not very stout.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: They start clean in the first quarter. All eyes right now are on how Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the defense respond from Sunday. Both were playing good football until last Sunday in Philly. I think the first quarter or 20 minutes will tell us a lot. The Jags are the better team, so getting an early lead and not giving the ball away or allowing big plays is paramount.
- The Texans will win if: They win the turnover battle and run effectively. The Texans are not as bad as everyone paints them this year. The Jags don't need that reminder since Houston has won eight straight in the series. If the Jags give Houston free possessions and Texans running back Dameon Pierce has a game like he did last Sunday, the Jaguars will lose.
- As Martineau sees it: I'm worried about this game because the streak doesn't make sense - kind of like how it works in the favor of the Jaguars versus the Colts. I still think the Jaguars are the much better team, and I expect Head Coach Doug Pederson's team to respond from last week's punch in the gut. It's a critical game and I think the Jaguars will find a way to win, 30-17.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They play to their standard. This game is important to the Jaguars because it's a division game. And because it's a home game. But it's perhaps most important because it's a game most observers believe they should win. The Jaguars believed they are dramatically improved. If they're right, this should be a victory.
- The Texans will win if: They keep this game tight in the fourth quarter and score a touchdown off a turnover. The Jaguars are the better team and need to establish themselves as such by getting an early lead. The longer the Texans stay close, the more they believe their eight consecutive victories in the series can become nine.
- As Oehser sees it: This is a game the Jaguars should win. They have played well enough this season to deserve to be favored. If the Jaguars win turnover differential Sunday, they should have a halftime lead and be in control in the fourth quarter. If they're in control and leading in the fourth quarter, this defense should be able to protect that lead for a second AFC South victory in as many games this season.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They're as good as I think they are. This team rebounded from a tough loss on Opening Day in Washington with two strong performances against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers. That showed me something I hadn't seen in a Jaguars team since 2017: The ability to lock in, let go of the past week and begin again. That would be my message to the team this week, begin again.
- The Texans will win if: The Jaguars can't lock in this week. I don't see that happening. They believe they're a good team and this is the kind of game good teams win. They also know they have a shot at 2-0 in the AFC South.
- As Sexton sees it: The Jaguars are in a race for the AFC South title with the Titans. But they don't play the Titans until December 11, which means they need to win Sunday to keep pace. I think the Jaguars will win on Sunday and set up a big shot to get a leg up next week in Indianapolis.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They protect the ball, stop the run and just play clean football. If they had done that against Washington and Philadelphia, they would be 4-0. They didn't. But it's a young team learning how to handle mistakes and overcome them in a course of a game.
- The Texans will win if: They get some big plays from either Pierce or wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks torched the Jaguars in five meetings, so he will be priority No. 1 on the outside. If the Texans establish the running game early, then this could be a slog of a game.
- As Shadrick sees it: The Texans are a franchise in transition without many household names. The Jaguars seem to be a step ahead of them in their transition with playmakers and a quarterback in place, plus a defense that takes the ball away at one of the best clips in the NFL. The Jaguars need to learn how to handle business against teams that they should handle business against. Lock it. Jags win.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars team reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They score early. The Texans just don't go away and I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars get nervous going into the fourth quarter because this game is closer than they want. A way to fix this is to get a lead so the Texans abandon a running game led by Pierce. The Jaguars have a better roster than the Texans, but they can't shoot themselves in the foot like they did last week.
- The Texans will win if: Cooks gets cooking. See what I did there? Cooks seems to have single-handedly beaten the Jaguars in the teams' last four matchups – producing 100-plus receiving yards in each game and making it look easy. He likely will draw double coverage, but the Jaguars will need to lock him down early. Cooks has haunted this team. It's time to put that to bed.
- As Sullivan sees it: This game is far more important than it was a month ago. One, the Jaguars need to bounce back after a tough loss to Philly. More importantly, if the Jaguars lose against the Texans they will be labeled the same old Jaguars who cannot handle their business in front of their home crowd. We think this team is different. This is their chance to prove it.