The Jacksonville Jaguars had an impressive showing against the Minnesota Vikings – even though they gave the game up at the very end – and fans should be encouraged heading into the second week of the season. Many national pundits expected Jacksonville to be among the worst teams in the NFL this season but in one week, they proved they’re much better than that.
The competition stiffens significantly in Week 2 and the Jags will have to improve in a couple areas if they are to defeat the Houston Texans, who are favored to win the AFC South.
On defense, the Jags will face a tall task of slowing Arian Foster, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and the latter two figure to be a big concern. Jacksonville allowed Vikings second year starter Christian Ponder to throw for 270 yards en route to a 105.5 quarterback rating. People making their NFL picks won’t be holding their breath expecting a Jaguars win if their pass defense can’t improve. Tackling was also an issue as the Vikings collected plenty of yards after the catch, which is something that could cost the Jaguars a win.
The good news is that quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked like a growing NFL starter in Week 1, going 23-of-39 for 260 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He didn’t get much help from the running game, which totaled just 113 yards on 34 carries.
A big crowd is expected to be on hand for the first home game of the Shad Khan-Mike Mularkey era. CBS’ 60 Minutes is doing a feature on Khan, so that could attract even more attention to the game. But when it comes to wins and losses, the Jags simply have to play better if they want to beat an elite team like the Texans and avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole.