By Jeff Moeller, Florida Sports Wire
JACKSONVILLE – Memo to Jaguars: This is a must win situation this weekend.
The Jags (1-1) will host the winless Texans (0-2) Sunday at Everbank Stadium, and the stakes will be high.
Jacksonville had plenty of positives against the Chiefs last weekend, but the Jags failed to put them away when they had the chance. There were some questionable play calls that could have been more easily resolved then they were.
They walked away with a similar feeling as the 27-20 playoff loss to the Chiefs last season when a slow start could have made the difference.
The Jags are now at a different level, but they likely still haven’t reached the Chiefs’, Eagles’. and Cowboys’ status yet.
This is a young Jags’ team with some room to grow.
Which brings us back to this Sunday.
Memo: Beat the Texans convincingly.
The crowd likely won’t be as pumped and as big as the 67,000-plus last week.
A year ago, Jacksonville hosted Houston and were sluggish in a disappointing 13-6 loss. At the time, they were 2-2 and were coming off a rain-soaked loss in Philadelphia.
The Texans’ loss last year triggered a four-game slide that they didn’t recover from until a 27-20 much-needed home victory over the Raiders.
That win ignited a nine-game winning streak that extended the rest of the season and finished with the legendary playoff win over the Chargers.
So far, the Jags still appear to be a lock to win the AFC South, but the Titans posted an impressive win last season, and could be back on track to provide a stiff challenge.
Texans’ prize rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has posted some decent numbers, but he has been sacked 11 tackles. Running back Dameon Pierce was a workhorse and the difference in last years’ win with 26 carries for 99 yards. So far, Pierce is off to a slow start, averaging .27 yards per carry.
Houston’s run defense is vulnerable, and their secondary is banged up. Former Jags’ corner Shaquill Griffin may get a start. Add rookie head coach 39-year-old DeMeco Ryans in a matchup against Doug Pederson, and you can see where this is headed.
Trevor Lawrence has thrown for less than 270 yards in his last four games, and Travis Etinenne ran for 40 yards against the Chiefs and 77 against the Colts in the season opener.
The Jags’ defense rallied after a low start against the Colts, but they couldn’t corral Patrick Mahomes enough despite his mediocre performance. The unit did manage to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone in the second half and held them to four field goals.
After this week, the Jags pack their bags for a two-game stay in London to meet the Falcons and the Bills. It will be a matter how the Jags respond in a totally different environment, especially in the first game. Although, they should be acclimated to life across the pond due to their frequent trips there.
Still, those are two games that will be pivotal to them gaining any kind of momentum.
However, staying at the task at hand, the Jags need a win. And in a big way.
Good teams bounce back and throttle a winless team.
The Jags are, and they need to give their fans a rout Sunday afternoon.