JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

AFC South matchup as the new look Jags head to Houston to take on the dysfunctional Texans. Can the College Football superteam of Urban Meyer & Trevor Lawrence get off to a winning start in the NFL or will the Texans prove that they’re more than just Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt? 

The Jaguars had a mini re-build over the offseason. The number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft gave them the opportunity to select Trevor Lawrence, who has been tagged as a generational talent pretty much since he stepped foot on Clemson’s campus. Lawrence’s new HC is also an NFL rookie, Urban Meyer has had great success as a college HC but is entering the NFL for the first time, reportedly the opportunity to draft and work with Lawrence was paramount in the former Florida & Ohio St HC making the jump to the pros. Lawrence has a nice complement of weapons around him. Marvin Jones Jr was signed in the offseason to be the team’s WR1 and give Lawrence some NFL experience around him. Laviska Shenault & DJ Chark are dangerous playmakers, with Shenault, in particular, being a versatile asset. The run game would’ve looked a little different had the former Clemson man, Travis Etienne not been lost for the year to a Lisfranc, so instead expect to see lots of James Robinson in the backfield. The UDFA impressed as a rookie and will now have the chance to make the job his own in his Sophomore campaign. 

The Texans are reeling, they’ve lost longtime standout JJ Watt from their defense and the less said about QB Deshaun Watson’s current situation the better. The hire of David Culley is an uninspired one. The 65-year-old has been around the NFL as a coordinator for a long time but this is his first shot at being a Head Coach, I think there were much better options available. Tyrod Taylor has been named the starting QB for the season and whilst the journeyman is serviceable, he also is uninspiring. You can make a claim that only LT Laremy Tunsil and WR Brandin Cooks are the only above-average players on the offense (there’s probably only one on the defense) and it’s with Cooks that my interest lies in this one. The former Saint, Patriot & Ram wideout was the go-to guy in this offense last year and projects to have the same role this year too. His U/O receiving yards line in Week 1 is 59.5 yards, he bested that in 10 games last season and although he had a much better QB throwing him the rock last year, I just struggle to see who else on this offense is going to make the plays Houston need to be competitive and funnily enough I think they’ll be more than just competitive in this one. Houston hasn’t lost to Jacksonville since 2017, winning 6 straight and I think we could see something similar to what Jacksonville did last year when they came out Week 1, upset a divisional rival and then decided that was enough winning for the year. 

Spread: Texans +3.5

Total Match Points line: O/U 45.0

Game Prediction: Texans 23 – 17 Jaguars

Best Bet: Brandin Cooks over 59.5 receiving yards @ 5/6 with SkyBet. [0.5] 

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