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Jaguars vs Texans Battle For Supremacy in the AFC South

The Texans dominated the Jaguars in Week 3, and in Week 11, they battle again for the top spot in the AFC South.
Jaguars Playoffs

The Jaguars vs Texans game this Sunday will determine first place in the AFC South. It has much bigger long-term implications than that as well. If the Jaguars win, they will be sitting two games above every other team in the division with just six games remaining. That would be a pretty insurmountable lead. If the Texans win, however, they would be tied with the Jaguars at 7-4 and hold the tiebreaker if the teams were to finish with an even record based on beating the Jaguars twice. With similar closing schedules, the team that wins this game Sunday is sitting in the driver’s seat for the divisional crown, especially if it is the Jaguars.

The Winner of the Jaguars vs Texans Game Will Win the AFC South

With so much on the line, here are the five things that the Jaguars need to do to beat the Texans and take control of the division:

Cover Tank Dell

Tank Dell has 659 receiving yards in 2023. 145 of those yards, or 22% of them, came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. The biggest change in the Jaguars game plan from Week 3 to Week 11 should be simple, cover Tank Dell. Jacksonville’s secondary had their worst game of the season against a quarterback and receiver both playing in their third-ever NFL game. If that happens again, the Jaguars will lose their spot atop the AFC South.

Contain C.J. Stroud

C.J. Stroud is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now. In his last three games, Stroud is averaging 387 yards per game with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. That includes a game against the Buccaneers where Stroud through for 470 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. So far in 2023, the Texans quarterback is playing better football than Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He has more yards, more touchdowns, fewer interceptions, and a better quarterback rating. If the Jaguars want to win Sunday, they have to contain Stroud and Lawrence has to play one of his best games.

Pass for 300+ Yards

Trevor Lawrence does not have a 300-yard passing game in 2023. Stroud has five. For the Jaguars to win this Sunday, the offense has to put all the pieces together. They have talent everywhere, and the offensive line is at full strength. If they do not reach their potential soon, it probably means they have actually reached their potential. One sign that they are playing at a high level would be for Trevor Lawrence to reach the 300-yard mark. It is almost unbelievable that we are 10 games into the season and he has not had a 300-yard game yet. With all of the weapons on offense, Jacksonville has to stretch the field and let Lawrence throw the ball.

Calvin Ridley Has to Catch the Football

In the first half of the Jaguars first game against the Texans, Ridley had two catches, two offsides penalties, and two drops. He ended the game with three official drops and another ball that hit his hands that he should have reeled in. The worst thing about the drops is when they happened. His first drop was a sure touchdown that floated right into his arms with no defender around. Lawrence could have “pressed pause” on the game, walked down the field, and placed the ball in Ridley’s hands and the placement would not have been better. His other two drops would have both been first downs and kept a drive alive.

Contain Andrew Beck On Special Teams

In the first matchup, Andrew Beck returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. He tried to catch the ball at the 15 but dropped it. Beck then had time to pick the ball back up, look around like he was lost for a second, and then break five tackles and outrun the Jaguars kicking team for an 85-yard score. At 255 pounds, he is the heaviest man to ever return a kickoff for a touchdown. He is also the first fullback to do so since 2005. This kick return changed the game almost as much as Calvin Ridley’s drops especially after the Jaguars scored on their first two possessions of the second half.

Main Photo: Corey Perrine – USA Today Sports


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