The Jaguars could avoid another week of misery if only Blake Bortles can get his act together and take advantage of the chance the Texans are giving him to deliver a win for his team. The NFL odds of the Jaguars beating the Texans are not very high.
And that isn’t an indictment of the capabilities of the Jaguars. Rather, this is one team that simply hasn’t performed against the Houston in their previous meeting. It is easy to understand why a lot of Jaguar fans prefer to attack Blake on this issue. After all, since Blake has been at the helm of the Jaguars as their quarterback they’ve been unable to defeat the Texans.
Blake was never the most impressive quarterback with a passer rating never exceeding 70.6 in a Texans game. The fact All-Pro Defensive end J.J. Watt has been responsible for nine of the twenty times Blake has been sacked during the Jaguars’ previous games with the Texans is especially demoralizing.
Watt is a real threat to Blake and the Jaguars’ hopes for a successful run at the Texans; luckily or the Jaguars, though, Watt is currently on injured reserve and he still has a surgical procedure awaiting him in the future. In that regard, Blake can go into his next game against the Texans knowing that the threat Watt poses will be absent.
The Defensive Player of the Year Candidate is definitely a crucial element of the Texans’ team; Blake said as much, praising Watt for being such an incredible player who deserves every accolade he has accrued.
However, it would be a mistake for the Jaguars to write the Texans off because of Watt’s absence because Houston has been doing just fine without him. Ranking Number 5 in terms of yards allowed, the Texans have also only allowed 11 points in each game.
Watt isn’t the only critical element of the Texans. Jadeveon Clowney is quickly proving that he can hold his own in Watt’s absence, capable of keeping the defense stable. He might not bring as many quarterbacks down as Watt but he knows how to cause devastation in the backfield.
Blake’s intelligence shows in that he isn’t discounting Clowney and understands the challenge he will present even without Watt’s presence on the field. Blake and Nathaniel Hackett have been working hard to improve Blake’s game, even as Hackett enters his second year as offensive coordinator.
The Jaguars’ game against Kansas City in Week 9 proved that they were still a credible threat; at the very least, they managed to get the running game going, so clearly Jaguars fans can still trust Blake to step up when it counts.
Blake isn’t the Jaguars’ only weak point. His teammates do not always give him the support he needs to make fake plays and improve his delivery in the passing game. The Jaguars have proven that they are decent enough.
And, as with every team, they only need to maintain consistency. With Watt away from the field, Blake just might shock Jaguars fans by giving them the victory over Houston they so desire.
Featured image via Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune