Tomorrow the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Houston Texans. There's a lot at stake for the Jaguars and in terms of the division. The Jaguars can pull within one win of the AFC South lead, despite just breaking a five game losing streak. The Texans can push their division lead if they can win. If the Jaguars win, they'll make it a three horse race for the division. If they don't, it will effectively make it a Titans, Texans race the rest of the way. For the eighth week of the season, there's a lot on the line for everyone in the division. Here's your five things for the weekend.
1) Run The Ball, Stop The Run
The Jaguars were able to grind the Ravens down throughout their Monday night matchup by running the ball and stuffing Ray Rice. That's what the Jaguars need to do against the Texans. Maurice Jones-Drew needs to have a big game, and the Jaguars' defense needs to shut Arian Foster down. That's the quickest way to ruin the Texans plans.
2) All About Blaine Gabbert
Everyone knows that Blaine Gabbert hasn't been putting up the numbers that Cam Newton has, but he's been facing far tougher defenses. This should be his first big test against a middle of the road defense. He won't be able to be just a game manager if the Jaguars want to win. He has to make some plays, and I think he can do just that.
3) Marcedes Lewis
I don't think Lewis is doggin' it; I think he's just having a rough start. Regardless of the reasons, he's still a huge weapon for the Jaguars' offense, and they need to get him in on the action. He's dropped a couple of sure-fire touchdowns this season, and the Jaguars can't afford that kind of play. He needs to start making those plays immediately.
4) Matt Schaub Must Go Down, And He Must Go Down Hard
We've all heard Vic Ketchman's great saying, "The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard!" That's essential here. The Jaguars were able to get great pressure on Joe Flacco. Flacco was uncomfortable all night long, and he never really settled in at any point in the game. The Jaguars need to be able to bring that kind of pressure again. While the Jaguars pass rushing specialist, John Chick, won't be playing, Matt Schaub's most dangerous target, Andre Johnson, won't be playing either. Johnson's absence should give the Jaguars an extra second or two to get to Schaub.
5) When In Doubt, Let The Defense Go To Work
The Jaguars have the sixth ranked defense in the NFL, and they'll have to rely heavily on that unit to keep up with the Texans high powered offense. If the Jaguars are put in the situation of running out the clock, they shouldn't get overly aggressive. Their defense has been outstanding this season, and I think they shouldn't be afraid to run the ball three times and punt with a lead late in the game. The defense got them their wins against the Titans and the Ravens, and I see no reason they won't be able to get the Jaguars a win against the Texans.