The Texans looked good at the Saints, and they’re facing a rookie QB making first start.
The Texans looked to have defensive issues against the Saints. But the offense was explosive. Even so, I think the Jaguars slow Deshaun Watson and keep it close.
The addition of Laremy Tunsil didn’t prevent Deshaun Watson from getting pummeled on several occasions in Week 1. Jacksonville’s defensive line can make the quarterback uncomfortable and keep the Jaguars competitive on the road.
The easy pick is Houston, but can the Texans (0-1) block the Jaguars (0-1) at all? Jacksonville beat up Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson was just sacked six times in New Orleans. The Texans likely find a way, but Watson will be sore.
The lookahead line last week was Houston minus-3 before Jacksonville lost quarterback Nick Foles to injury and fell 40-26 loss the Chiefs. Is the drop-off from Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew and one poor defensive performance against the best offense in the NFL really worth six points? I don’t think so.
There are plenty of reasons the Texans (0-1) are huge favorites in this game, and Houston will almost assuredly win, but Minshew did not appear tentative at all last week, and he just might keep this game somewhat competitive.
The line on this game was minus-3 last week before the Nick Foles injury. Maybe there should be a 6-point adjustment for Gardner Minshew, but it seems like a lot. And teams generally rally around a backup quarterback in his first start. Minshew did look solid against the Chiefs. I’ll hope for the Jaguars defense to bounce back and keep it close.
LOCK (1.5 UNITS)
The Jaguars' offense wasn't the issue against the Chiefs, as rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew looked comfortable executing the new-look downfield passing game with Chris Conley and D.J. Chark after Nick Foles went down. Their defense couldn’t handle the big arm and elusiveness of Patrick Mahomes. Deshaun Watson will play as well as he did Monday night, and Jalen Ramsey will get quieted by DeAndre Hopkins.
It’s a short week, but getting home should help the Texans alleviate some offensive line issues, especially as Laremy Tunsil gets another week in the system. It’s not a great spot for Jags rookie QB Gardner Minshew, making his first career start on the road in a divisional game with almost an entire game of tape on him now.
Never a good way to start the season when the quarterback for whom you signed to a big contract in free agency goes on IR after the opening game. But even with Nick Foles, the Jaguars would have had a hard time beating the Texans.
Andre probably will talk up Gardner Minshew, the rookie sixth-rounder who replaced Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles in Week 1. And that’s fine, because my pick has little to do with him and a lot to do with Jacksonville’s defense, which, for all of its talent, looked lost against Kansas City. Sure, the Jaguars’ poor performance came against the Chiefs, who boast the NFL’s most explosive offense, but Jacksonville was just plain sloppy, particularly in pass coverage. DeShaun Watson will have a field day for the Texans.
Jacksonville lost starting QB Nick Foles, so the mustachioed one, rookie Gardner Minshew, appears to have the reins for the next couple of months. Houston inexplicably lost to New Orleans after a great last-minute drive to take the lead, only to play prevent-a-win defense to do exactly that. Still, QB Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins looked in midseason form.