3 keys to a Jaguars victory vs. Texans in Week 17

The numbers say the Jacksonville Jaguars should’ve won their Week 5 matchup against the Houston Texans.

Despite out-gaining the Texans by nearly 200 yards of offense, the Jaguars failed to turn their 422-yard day into any touchdowns. Trevor Lawrence threw three two interceptions and the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs three times.

That was then and this is now.

Lawrence finished the month of October — which included that loss to the Texans — with four touchdowns and five interceptions. In the seven games since the end of that month, Lawrence has 14 touchdowns and one interception.

The Texans are also playing better football, though. After barely losing to the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs in back-to-back weeks, Houston got its second win of the year last week by beating the Tennessee Titans, 19-14. The 66 points the Texans scored in the last three weeks are their most over a three-game stretch this year.

So what do the Jaguars have to do to avoid giving the Texans’ their third win of the season? Here are three keys to a Jacksonville win on Sunday:

Show up

The Jaguars are the better team. The bigger question is focus and motivation.

Doug Pederson has preached a mantra of “So what? Now what?” this season that tells Jaguars players to focus on the present rather than the past or future. The message seems to have stuck and Jacksonville players managed to take care of business last week against a slumping New York Jets.

The last two weeks will be a test in focus and staying grounded. All that stands between the Jaguars and a home playoff game are the two-win Texans and the Titans on a six-game losing streak.

If Jacksonville shows up to NRG Stadium ready to play the type of football it played in November and December, that should be enough.

Get the run game rolling

After a stretch of breakout games in the middle of the season, Travis Etienne Jr. has been a mostly quiet part of the Jaguars offense, even as he creeped over 1,000 rushing yards on the year last week.

While the Jaguars have won four of their last five games, Etienne has averaged 3.8 yards per carry over that stretch and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 9.

The Texans offer an opportunity to get Etienne back on track. Houston’s defense is dead last in rushing yards allowed (168.6 yards per game) and 28th in yards allowed per carry (4.9).

In the last meeting, Etienne racked up 114 yards on only 13 touches. He should get a lot more touches than that in the rematch.

Bottle up the big plays

The Texans are second to last in the NFL in run plays that gained at least 10 yards. But Houston has been relatively explosive through the air.

With Brandin Cooks, Chris Moore, and Nico Collins at wide receiver, and even tight end Jordan Akins capable of a big gain, the Texans are above the league average in pass plays of 20 yards or more.

The Jaguars have locked down one side of the field all year with Tyson Campbell and they’ve recently figured out the other side by moving Darious Williams away from the slot.

If the rearranged Jacksonville secondary can keep the Texans from recording chunk plays, Houston is going to have a hard time driving down the field and recording many points.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire