JAGUARS VS. TEX­ANS

SUN­DAY, 1 P.M. ET, NRG STA­DIUM, HOUS­TON uTV: CBS, DIRECTV 708

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NL WEST - Mar­rone, Blake Bor­tles Chad Henne, Allen Robin­son Four­nette. Jalen Ram­sey, Tom Sav­age De­shaun Wat­son J.J. Watt Jade­veon Clowney Leonard Player to watch: Tex­ans RB La­mar Miller. Num­ber crunch­ing: 4. Nick No­vak. Mar­qise Lee

An­nounc­ers: An­drew Cat­alon, James Lofton

About the Jaguars: The Jaguars fi­nally made it through their night­mar­ish pre­sea­son dur­ing which key starters on both sides of the ball missed chunks of time with in­juries and the team was mired in a quar­ter­back con­tro­versy when strug­gled. Af­ter briefly be­ing benched by head coach

Bor­tles ap­pears ready for re­demp­tion. He watched from the side­lines as the same veteran quar­ter­back he re­placed three years ago, re­placed him as the starter. Now, Bor­tles gets an­other chance, and he’s sur­rounded by key of­fen­sive play­ers led by WR and rookie RB

The re­vamped de­fense should back a bet­ter pass rush, and new faces in the sec­ondary will help CB a rookie phe­nom last sea­son. The Jaguars haven’t won a sea­son opener since 2011 and haven’t won on the road in Week 1 in 13 years.

About the Tex­ans: It has been an emo­tional few weeks for the Tex­ans as the team and the city of Hous­ton have dealt with un­prece­dented and dev­as­tat­ing flood­ing brought on by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. Af­ter prac­tic­ing in New Or­leans and fac­ing the Saints in their third pre­sea­son game as Har­vey was mak­ing land­fall, the Tex­ans spent sev­eral days stuck in Dal­las with Hous­ton’s air­ports closed. Their fi­nal pre­sea­son game against the Cow­boys was can­celed so the play­ers could re­turn home to their fam­i­lies. Now, they get a chance to lift the city. Start­ing QB takes the reins with rookie wait­ing in the wings. DE is back along­side 2014 top pick OLB and the DE J.J. Watt is back af­ter miss­ing most of 2016 re­cu­per­at­ing from back surgery.

league’s top-ranked de­fense last sea­son.

Af­ter spend­ing four sea­sons in Hous­ton, Bouye is tasked with shad­ow­ing Hop­kins, whom he fre­quently de­fended in prac­tices for years. Af­ter strug­gling to get on the same page with Brock Osweiler through­out 2016, Hop­kins seeks a bounce-back sea­son with Sav­age.

In the Tex­ans’ two meet­ings with the Jaguars in 2016, Miller racked up 37 car­ries be­tween the two games, rush­ing for 83 yards in the first matchup, fol­lowed by 63 yards in the sec­ond game, in­clud­ing a game-ty­ing touch­down in the wan­ing min­utes of the fourth quar­ter, which gave Hous­ton the win af­ter the ex­tra point was con­verted. If he is ef­fec­tive against the Jaguars, the Tex­ans won’t have to put too much pres­sure on Sav­age.

The Jaguars lost both games to the Tex­ans last sea­son by a com­bined four points, los­ing 24-21 at home in their first meet­ing and 21-20 in Hous­ton.

KEYS TO VIC­TORY

1. Quar­ter­back ac­cu­racy: Be­tween Bor­tles and Osweiler in this matchup last sea­son, there were er­rant passes and in­ter­cep­tions. Stay­ing on tar­get will be critical to es­tab­lish­ing mo­men­tum and open­ing up the de­fense.

2. Spe­cial teams: Nine field goals were made be­tween the teams in their meet­ings last year, with two misses com­ing from Hous­ton K

added a 100-yard kick­off re­turn touch­down.

3. QB pro­tec­tion: The Tex­ans sacked Bor­tles four times in 2016, while the Jaguars man­aged one sack against the Tex­ans. Keep­ing the quar­ter­back up­right is huge, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the level of tal­ent in both pass rushes and the shak­i­ness at quar­ter­back.

4. Sec­ondary: The Jaguars might have the clear edge over the Tex­ans here. Play­ing up to that po­ten­tial and ex­ploit­ing those matchups is a must in stay­ing within reach.

Jor­dan God­win

STEPHEN LEW, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Doug Matchup to watch: Jaguars CB A.J. Bouye vs. Tex­ans WR DeAn­dre Hop­kins.

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