Jacksonville’s electric offense had trouble against the Kansas City Chiefs last week, but its defense kept it in the game. Houston’s team has less firepower on offense and fewer showstoppers on defense, so the Jaguars have a prime opportunity to bounce back.
Here are five Jaguars players to watch in their Week 3 home game versus the Texans:
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was a big-ticket acquisition for the Jaguars ahead of this season, and he’s looked worth the trade compensation.
In Week 1 against the Colts, Ridley showed exactly why Jacksonville decided to take a risk on him. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw his way 11 times, connecting eight times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
While Lawrence still turned to Ridley eight times last week, the Chiefs’ defense gave the receiver much of its attention, forcing the offense to turn elsewhere. This week, the Texans should provide less resistance.
Steven Nelson is a solid cornerback, Derek Stingley Jr. has a lot of potential, and former Jaguars corner Shaquill Griffin has had success at points throughout his career. The Texans’ secondary isn’t bad, but they are a softer unit than Kansas City’s. Ridley has a chance to bounce back after his quiet Week 2.
Rookie offensive tackle Anton Harrison’s performance last week was far from ideal. He frequently drew matchups with Chris Jones and ceded two sacks.
His matchup against Houston gives him the opportunity to show what has the Jaguars excited. He should see plenty of reps across from fellow rookie Will Anderson Jr. so his next game won’t be a breeze.
Anderson has already tallied a sack this year and added six solo tackles. If Harrison puts up a strong outing, Jacksonville’s faith in him could be rewarded.
QB Trevor Lawrence
Lawrence looked like the potential MVP fans were hoping to see for most of Week 1, but he wasn’t at the same level against the Chiefs. He finished the game with 216 yards, no touchdowns, and completed 53.7 percent of his passes.
This week, he plays a team led by former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who is one of the brightest defensive minds in the game. A strong performance against the Texans could push him back on the right track.
If he can keep his strong connection with receiver Christian Kirk and rekindle his fire with Ridley, Lawrence will be able to put his team in position to win its second game of the season.
Safety Rayshawn Jenkins has become an important piece of the Jaguars’ secondary. And last week he was one of the key players who helped slow star tight end Travis Kelce.
This week he has an easier but still capable matchup: Texans tight end Dalton Shultz. The tight end only has six catches for 38 yards so far this year, but he was a key to the Dallas Cowboys in his time with the team.
Jenkins could help limit the Texans prolific passing attack with a second-straight solid performance.
OLB Travon Walker
After an up-and-down rookie season, Travon Walker has had a solid start to his 2023 campaign. He had a sack in Week 1 and gave Jawaan Taylor some difficulties in Week 2.
Walker is set to get a lot of reps against Laremy Tunsil, who has proven himself as one of the NFL’s better offensive tackles. Walker could have trouble getting past Tunsil, but Stroud isn’t particularly mobile, so Walker could make some noise on the defensive line.
The Jaguars have been happy with Walker’s play so far this year, and a good performance against the Texans would reinforce their positive feelings about the second-year player.