Jaguars Fangirl: Week 9 

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The Jags are off to London this week! We’re at the mid-way point of the season with a bye week coming up, but before that, the Jags will need to secure the win this week against the Houston Texans. In an AFC South matchup, both teams are 1-1 in the division and the one loss for Jacksonville occurred during the Week 2 loss against, yes, Houston. That game the Jags came up short by one point. ONE. This week is huge for both teams and could potentially have playoff implications later down the road. To put it simply, this is a must win for Duval.

While both teams are playing away, this game will feel like a home game in London. Jacksonville has played in London more than any other NFL franchise and the fan base over there can prove it. Additionally, this will be the Jags’ seventh consecutive season playing in London. The Texans, on the other hand, will be making their London debut. So, expect things to get rowdy in a great way for the Jags this weekend.

A friendly reminder that the game is an early one for Duval in the states, kicking off at 9:30am ET on NFL Network.

The matchup to watch this week is between the guys under center! Deshaun Watson and Gardner Minshew II are turning heads week after week! The last time the two teams faced off was Garner Minshew Il’s first NFL start. The rookie QB had a great debut going 23- of-33 for 213 yards and one touchdown. He also showed off his versatility by adding 56 rushing yards on six carries.

Since that game, Minshew Mania has only continued to grow and so has the QB’s play. He’s gained big-time game experience and a stronger situational awareness. Additionally, playing in QB1’s favor is the fact Pro Bowler defensive end, J.J. Watt, has been placed on IR after tearing his pectoral muscle in Week 8. Minshew II and his receiving corps have exploded through the air and with the uptick in Leonard Fournette’s run-game, this offense has become incredibly balanced and threatening to opposing defenses. In fact, Fournette is second in the league in total rushing yards and leads the AFC. DJ Chark Jr. is also still the AFC leader in receiving yards.

On the reverse, Deshaun Watson is having one of his best seasons since he entered the league. He’s sixth in the league in passing yards despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. They’ve given up 24 sacks this season so far, \cue the Jags defensive line fired up, ready to go\. Also worth mentioning, in last week’s performance, Watson was kicked in the face and still has eye swelling. The injury shouldn’t prevent Watson from playing, but it could hinder his performance. And if we’re talking about Deshaun Watson, we have to mention his top 10 pass catcher - Deandre Hopkins. On any given Sunday, Hopkins can be the ultimate game changer so always make sure to keep an eye on this duo.

Josh. Lambo. Quite possibly the most interesting man on this Jags roster, well behind Gardner Minshew II of course. What makes the Jacksonville kicker so intriguing? For starters, he was a professional futbol player before making the switch to American football. He was drafted in the first round by FC Dallas in 2008. He played sparingly until retiring in 2012 at 21-years-old. That fall Lambo went on to play at Texas A&M University and became the starting kicker during the 2013 season. After a successful career with the Aggies, Lambo went on to sign with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in May 2015. He was on the Chargers’ roster until October 2017 when he made the move to Jacksonville.

In fact, almost exactly two years ago on November 12, 2017, Lambo made a game-winning 30-yard field goal in overtime to give the Jags a 20-17 win over none other than the Chargers. Since then, he’s been the Jags starting kicker and signed a new contract to keep him in Jacksonville until 2023. The extension has proven promising. For example, in Week 4 Lambo converted two extra points and went 4-for-4 on field goals, including the game-winning 33-yarder as time expired in the win over the Broncos which earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Again in Week 7, he hit all four of his field goals and an extra point in the win over the Bengals, earning him his second AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award of the season. And last week against the New York Jets, he missed his first PAT of the season, but went on to hit his next 3 field goals in the 29-15 victory over the Jets.

Now, Josh Lambo is on his way back to London for the third time, but this time with some extra motivation. Last season he kicked a new career long 57-yard field goal, which was conveniently in Wembley Stadium. This week he will look to make history again. The fifth-year NFL kicker has a chance to break his own Jags record for most consecutive made field goals (24, 2017-2018 season). During his time with Jacksonville, Lambo has made 59 of his 62 field goals and his 94.9% field goal conversion rate is the highest in franchise history among kickers with at least 10 field goal attempts. Lambo was clutch during the last matchup between the Texans and Jags this season, so expect nothing less this week!

Duval! If you’re staying home to watch the Jags take on the Texans, invite your friends over, eat all the leftover Halloween candy and make these delicious recipes by Fresh from Florida! They will be the newest crowd pleaser when you have guest over!

Once Jacksonville gets the win, start up these delicious Florida Honey-Glazed Fried Chicken Wings.

What you’ll need:

12 Florida chicken wings

⅓ cup Florida honey

¼ cup Florida orange juice

10 sprigs fresh thyme

3 beaten eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups bread crumbs

3 tablespoons all-purpose seasoning (such as Everglades)

Vegetable oil for frying

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

How to prepare:

In a small sauce pot combine honey and orange juice. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool.

Add oil to deep fryer and preheat to 350-375 degrees. Set up bread station in three separate bowls as follows: beaten eggs, flour, and bread crumbs. Season each with salt and pepper. Season flour and bread crumbs with 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose seasoning each. Dip each wing into egg mixture, then flour, then bread crumbs and lay onto sheet pan. Fry chicken until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Drain onto pan lined with paper towels. Season immediately with salt and pepper. Drizzle with cooled honey mixture.

As your side, make sure to toss on the grill this recipe! Grilled Florida Sweet Corn with Garlic and Herbs.

What you need:

4 ears fresh Florida sweet corn

1 tablespoon garlic, minced fine

Herbs, chopped fine (such as thyme, rosemary, parsley)

3 tablespoons butter

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

How to prepare:

Preheat grill to high. In a small bowl combine butter, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Cover each ear of corn with butter mixture and grill over high heat, rotating several times, until desired doneness. Serve warm.

Enjoy this week, Jags fans! If you’re traveling to London, stay safe and if you’re watching from home, cheer loud! Just a reminder that next week is a bye week for Duval but the Jags will be back in action for another division foe matchup against the Colts in Week 11.

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