There is palpable excitement in North Florida, as the Jaguars get ready to host the struggling Texans Sunday with a chance to clinch the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. Our question is simple: is Sunday a “trap?”
Coming off an impressive wild win over the Seahawks, who are battling for their NFC Playoff lives themselves, Jacksonville is riding high at 9-4 and leading the AFC South by a game over the Titans. And everyone everywhere is patting them on the back for an incredible turnaround to this point.
And, to further bolster them, Houston is a mess. They are probably down to third string QB T.J. Yates, after on again-off again starter Tom Savage suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the 49ers. Houston’s best defender, J.J. Watt, has been out for the year since early October with a knee injury, and the Texans at 4-9, appear to be on the verge of the just playing out the final three games of 2017.
Vegas has installed the Jags as an 11 point favorite to win and clinch the post season.
But, this is where things can get dangerous against the Texans.
And don’t think coach Doug Marrone doesn’t realize it.
Wednesday he spent a good portion of his press conference trying to down play the possibilities of a 10 win season, the playoffs, a possible bye, etc. Observe:
"We are focused on what we have to do today.
They want nothing more than to beat us, as we want nothing more than to beat them." pic.twitter.com/yJG9rQFeri
— #Sacksonville (@Jaguars) December 13, 2017
Marrone knows what’s at stake, and realizes that it would be easy for his young team to listen to all of the outside praise and how easily they should win Sunday, and not be 100% focused and ready to go.
Then, there are some injury concerns. Like, QB Blake Bortles, who as we’ve documented has repeatedly been raising his level of play this season, has been battling illness early this week. In fact, he was in bad shape Sunday night and Monday:
— Brent Martineau (@BrentASJax) December 13, 2017
Also, star RB Leonard Fournette, who had a huge second half on his way to a 100 yard rushing game against Seattle, is also battling a quadriceps injury and did not practice Wednesday afternoon. Neither did rookie left tackle, Cam Robinson, with a back strain.
You start to get the idea about concerns for Sunday.
Also, factor in that the Jaguars humiliated Houston in week one, including sacking Savage a team record 10 times in a blow out win. Texans coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t have to remind his team.
And, obviously, players like WR DeAndre Hopkins and DE Jadaveon Clowney are raring to go and would like nothing better than to pay the Jags back, big time, and spoil the playoff celebration.
So, that’s the challenge for Marrone and staff and veterans like Bortles, DL Calais Campbell, TE Marcedes Lewis, etc. Stay focused this week. Put in the time and key preparation.
Don’t get caught looking ahead to a playoff spot, a possible bye, etc.
Don’t, fall into a Texans trap.
News1 week ago
Report- Former USF coach Leavitt out as Oregon DC, FSU next?
News3 days ago
Was Spring AAF league on verge of folding?
Jacksonville Jaguars4 days ago
Jaguars make contract moves Monday afternoon
Florida State Seminoles7 days ago
FSU offensive line coach Greg Frey dismissed Friday morning
Florida State Seminoles6 days ago
Florida State already has line coach targeted
Florida Gators5 days ago
Tim Tebow on lure of AAF Spring league: “Coach Spurrier keeps calling”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 week ago
Bucs released DE Vinny Curry Tuesday
Tampa Bay Buccaneers3 days ago
Bucs sign veteran RB Andre Ellington