Ranking All 13 NFL Alternate Helmets

This season, the NFL has allowed teams to have more than one colored helmet to wear. The rule change saw 13 NFL franchises introduce new helmets for their alternate uniforms.

Before I begin, I want to clarify what I ranked these helmets based on. There were three factors that went into my ranking: 1. Does the helmet itself look good? 2. Does the helmet fit with the rest of the uniform? 3. Could the team have done more with the helmet? With that in mind, here is my ranking for these new helmets.

The New NFL Alternate Helmets: 13-6

Chicago Bears alternate helmet for the 2022 NFL season
Photo Credit: Jacob Funk/Chicago Bears

13. Chicago Bears

I attend a school that wears orange helmets with its orange uniforms. It doesn’t work too well. Same thing goes for the Bears. The traditional navy helmet works so much better with any of Chicago’s jerseys, especially its orange one. This alternate helmet is a miss for one of the NFL’s most iconic teams.

12. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals messed up big time with their new helmets. Arizona plans to wear these with its color rush uniforms. The red pops out with the black real well with those, so why not do the same with the helmets? If these had a red face mask, this could’ve been one of the better helmets. But instead, they go with a bland, black design.

11. Washington Commanders

I’m glad that Washington didn’t leave the “numbers on the helmet” look behind when it rebranded. However, the execution this time around feels poor. The “W” in the front doesn’t sit well. Maybe a stripe, like the Commanders’ primary helmets, would’ve been better. This helmet isn’t bad by any means, but ten other teams did a better job than Washington.

10. Carolina Panthers

This one might have to grow on me a bit. I like the all black concept the Panthers created, but this helmet feels almost too dark. From the photos, it’s difficult to see the Panthers logo. The colors mesh well together, but nothing pops out to the eye.

9. Houston Texans

The helmet itself is one of the best that have been introduced. What’s upsetting is the Texans plan to wear these with their red uniforms, according to gridiron-uniforms.com. These would look significantly better with their blue-with-red-lettering color rush jerseys. The all-red look Houston plans to wear doesn’t sit with me well.

8. New Orleans Saints

The Saints introduced a new look this offseason, and it’s not bad. The fleur-de-lis down the middle helps this helmet represents New Orleans well, and black and gold go together like bread and butter. However, nothing about this helmet stands out; it’s a bit bland. Maybe a gold face mask would help?

7. New York Jets

Now we’re getting to the helmets I really like. The Jets’ nailed this one. New York’s black uniforms look even better with this helmet. The green on the logo and face mask (take note, Cardinals) pop out and give the uniform more vibrance.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles kept their helmet change simple, and I’m all for it. They switched from an already-fresh midnight green and black look to a more fitting all black uniform. A slight change for the better.

NFL Alternate Helmets: The Top 5

Dallas Cowboys bring back the alternate uniforms and helmets for 2022
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Dallas Cowboys

The Thanksgiving uniforms worn in the late 2000s and early 2010s are iconic. Dallas finally gets the chance to bring them back this year. The simplicity of the helmet gives the Cowboys an old school look, something that somewhat resembles a cowboy. The white pops out with the rest of the uniform, and I love it.

4. New York Giants

The Giants’ white throwback uniform has been a staple amongst fans for a few years now. It’s about time they brought the blue back. The darker shade of blue on the helmet gives the uniform a more classic look. On top of that, the “GIANTS” along the side is significantly better than the block “NY”. A perfect helmet for a classic uniform.

3. New England Patriots

The Pat Patriot look is back! The red, white, and blue look has long been one of the best looks in football. The white stands out with the red jersey really well, giving New England a patriotic look. As someone who watched many Patriots games growing up, I’m so happy to see these back in action.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

Finally. Ever since the Bengals introduced their all-white uniforms, fans have been screaming for the Bengals to wear while helmets. Everyone’s wish came true, and this looks so clean. The new helmets put these uniforms in the conversation for the best in the NFL.

1. Atlanta Falcons

When the Falcons got new uniforms in 2020, I was disappointed they went with black helmets instead of red. Now you see why. The red and black look with a sliver of gold bring back ’80s nostalgia, a more authentic throwback, and one of the cleanest looks in the NFL. It’s about time Atlanta brought these back. These are, without a doubt, the best of the NFL alternate helmets

Patriots vs Texans Preview

Patriots vs Texans breakdown in “who has the advantage when…” style. Preview of the game in all phases of the sport.

Patriots vs Texans
HOUSTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 22: Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots attempts to break a tackle from Justin Reid #20 of the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter during their game at NRG Stadium on November 22, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The Patriots look to double their win total vs a Texans team seeking the same outcome. After a hard-fought defeat to the Buccaneers last week, the Patriots look to take on a Texans team reeling from three straight losses, including the 40-0 smackdown against the Bills last week. It will be a battle of rookie QB’s when the two teams meet up, but how each rookie gained their starting job couldn’t be any more different.

Mac Jones beat out incumbent Cam Newton to win the starting gig coming out of training camp. Texans Rookie Davis Mills (Stanford) was picked in the third round with the Texans’ first pick of the draft to largely play backup to Tyrod Taylor. However, when Taylor injured his hamstring in week 2 against the Browns, it forced Mills into action. A week after holding a living legend to mortal numbers, the Patriots defense will again need to be active on Sunday to help the team win with a skeleton crew of a roster making the trip.

We’ll again stick with last week’s iteration of game preview, using the “who has the advantage when…” style. So, without further ado.

The Patriots Run the Ball

The Patriots are suddenly a team struggling to move the ball on the ground. Don’t expect that to change this week as the only returning starter along the offensive line is center David Andrews. The Patriots leading rusher a week ago was WR Nelson Agholor, who had a long of 4 yards. Collectively, the Pats totaled 8 carries for -1 yard on the ground.

That’s not a typo, a Bill Belichick coached had -1 rushing yard for an entire game. A week before, the Patriots had 49 yards on 17 carries. This has been a downward trend since the season opener against the Dolphins for the Pats. Behind a patchwork offensive line, the work won’t be getting any easier for the Patriots’ running backs.

The silver lining? The Texans have been extremely porous against the run, allowing an average of 137 yards per game to their opponents with an extremely generous 4.5 yards per carry average. While the Texans boast an active linebacking corps, the defensive line has been quiet through the first quarter of the NFL season. The lack of production among their down linemen has allowed the linebackers more than their fair share of chances to pad stats with tackles multiple yards downfield, which is exactly what has occurred.

Despite the Texans’ troubles defending the run, it won’t be an easy day in the office for the Patriots rushing attack. Expect this to be a difficult endeavor to get the ground game going. Damien Harris and the other Patriot’s running backs were having a difficult time executing the Patriots rushing attack behind the starting offensive line, it won’t get any easier behind the patchwork starting five against the Texans.

Advantage: Patriots (somehow)

The Patriots Pass the Ball

McDaniels embraced Mac Jones and his strengths last week against the Bucs. Facing a strong front seven but an injured secondary, the Pats spread it out, often going with three wide receiver sets. These personnel groupings not only plays to Jones’ strengths in the short to intermediate passing game, but it helps the rookie identify defensive play calls before the snap.

The Patriots would be wise to utilize this game plan again against the Texans. With Mac playing behind four new starters up front, putting him in the gun and letting him identify his mismatches before the snap will allow him to get the ball out quick and avoid getting killed. If the Patriots’ running game falters at all, expect them to replace it with a quick passing game to keep the offense in manageable situations.

The Texans’ secondary is largely comprised of “remember them” names. While they may have some notable names on their roster, the Texans’ passing defense has been middle of the pack. They have allowed an average of 260 yards passing per game but have buoyed that performance with timely takeaways and stiff red zone passing defense.

The Texans have allowed 6 passing touchdowns while collecting 5 interceptions. Safety Justin Reid leads the team with 2, while CB’s Vernon Hargreaves III and Lonnie Johnson Jr., and linebacker Christian Kirksey have one apiece.

The Texans pass rush starts with hybrid defensive end/linebacker Whitney Mercilus who has collected 3 sacks on the season. The team has a total of 7 sacks to this point in the season. Outside of Mercilus, these sacks are largely designed pressures and not one on one pass rush wins. Don’t be surprised if some of these schemes and games fool the Pats’ backup o-linemen and we see Mac on the ground more than we’d like.

It’ll all come down to protecting Mac. The Texans will know the Pats want to get the ball out of his hand quickly and would be smart to clog the underneath passing lanes. If so, Mac will need to have time to work through his progressions. If the Pats can afford him that time, then the passing offense will have success. If not, it could be a frustrating day in the office. A big game from the tight ends might be in store if the Pts can consistently get them lined up on the Texans linebackers.

Advantage: Patriots

The Texans Run the Ball

The Texans have been anything but a dominant rushing team this season. Paced by a veteran group (and I mean veteran with a capital V), the team has gained 332 yards on the ground. For comparison’s sake, the Pats have 274. The Texans had 48 rushing yards last week against the Bills, and it wasn’t because the game got out of hand quickly. The Texans trailed 16-0 at the half and 19-0 after three. Still, plenty of reason to stay balanced on offense.

The week before, the Texans rushed for 42 yards against the Panthers. Almost half of the Texans rushing yards (160) came in week 1 against the Jaguars. The Texans again were productive on the ground through the first half against the Browns before QB Tyrod Taylor got injured. The loss of a dynamic runner at the QB position has made the Texans run game one-dimensional.

Just as a porous Texans defense might be the medicine the Patriots rushing game needs to get back on track, facing the Patriots defense might do the same for a struggling Texans attack. The Patriots rank 20th in rush defense thus far into the season. Dont’a Hightower hasn’t been the same player since returning and was leapfrogged by Kyle Van Noy last week in playtime. The loss of Ja’Whaun Bentley hasn’t helped the Patriots rush defense either.

Bentley is questionable to play against the Texans while Jamie Collins is set to make his (third?) Patriots debut. The return of both Collins and Bentley could mean a bolstered Patriots rushing defense. At the very least, it should help keep guys fresh with a more active rotation.

A week after Belichick putting on a coaching clinic against one of the most talented offenses in the league, I have a feeling he keeps his defense on track with a resurgent effort against a struggling Texans run game. The best thing the Pats can do is overplay the run and force a rookie QB to try to beat them through the air.

For a game the features the two franchises planet-sized-defender-of-the-middle Vince Wilfork played for, it’ll be a game lacking in run defense.

Advantage: Patriots

The Texans Pass the Ball

Rookie Davis Mills was highly touted as a draft prospect. NFL evaluators loved his arm strength and ability to spread the ball around along with his above-average escape-ability. However, the negatives from his college tape have translated too easily to the NFL game. He frequently waited for the sure thing to be open, often leaving receivers waiting on his ball to arrive, and tended to be occasionally erratic with his accuracy.

Those negative traits are reflected in his professional stat line: 38/67 for 357 yards, 2 touchdowns against 5 interceptions while taking 8 sacks. The NFL level happens at a much faster speed than college, waiting for a sure thing to happen in the NFL is very rarely going to occur. His high sacks total in two and a half games shows he’s still waiting for his guys to break open while the interception total is reflective of his sporadic accuracy and receivers having to wait on the ball.

A week after making TB12 double clutch and doubt what he was seeing post-snap, the Pats defense should be able to tie this rookie’s brain into knots. Even with the loss of Jalen Mills (hamstring), the Patriots’ secondary should be able to scheme up confusing and effective coverages.

WR Brandin Cooks is the Texans leading receiver by a large margin (Cooks: 369 yards, next leading receiver: 73 yards) and should draw attention from CB1 J.C. Jackson or from a rat concept with slot corner Jonathan Jones and safety Devin McCourty over the top. Belichick is the king of making teams play left-handed and it’s never been so apparent as the Texans unbalanced passing game.

The Texans’ offensive line has long been an Achilles heel and continues to be despite significant investment. Patriots pass rushers Matt Judon and Josh Uche, along with rotating pieces Van Noy, Hightower, Collins, and Chase Winovich should all find success in one-on-one matchups. If the Pats can get Mills to second guess what he’s seeing and hold the ball the pass rush should have a VERY productive game.

Advantage: Patriots

Special Teams

The Patriots’ third unit finally got on track last week (outside of one Matt Slater penalty). They threw everything they had at the Bucs to try to gain an extra possession, but the Bucs handled it extremely well. I don’t think the Pats will be getting too exotic on special teams unless the game flow dictates it late in the matchup. Gunner Olszewski has had a quiet start to the season before a modest return last week, he might be due to break one. Nick Folk has been listed on the injury report since Week 2 but has yet to miss any time. He has been consistent and came ever so close to turning in a snow-bowl-esque kick last week in monsoon conditions.

Coaching

Belichick showed last week he still is the best defensive mind to ever don a headset. His work this week should be quite a bit easier than going against his understudy of 20 years. However, the best don’t let up against inferior opponents. Belichick knows and embraces that aspect of the game, often showing clips of Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods during team meetings to accentuate how the best never is content with simply winning, they want to dominate and embarrass their opponents. Belichick should channel that mentality in running a second consecutive coaching clinic.

McDaniels has been on the receiving end of quite a bit of criticism. None of which has been deserved. He has quietly and steadily been focusing the game plan on Mac Jones’ strengths and will continue to set the rookie up for success. After seeing how disastrous the downfield passing game could be against the Saints, Mac was happy to stay on script against the Bucs and had the best game of his young career. Hopefully, the Pats don’t need to break out Jakobi Meyers for two pass attempts this game.

Defensive play-caller Steve Belichick has been steady as long as the cameras aren’t on him….

Advantage: Patriots

Weather

It’s a dome. Unless the Chargers and Raiders decide to somehow get involved and postpone it, it shouldn’t be an issue. The Texans field is a natural grass surface that has come under criticism in seasons past but thus far in the young season has been in top shape.

Prediction

The Texans average 16.8 points per game, the Pats? 17.8. Seems a bit too straightforward. Mac Jones and the offense finally showed signs of progression last week in the red zone, going 2-3 but scoring points on every trip. The slow conversion of these trips into touchdowns is a welcome sign for the offense. The Patriots defense and special teams will need to help the offense in the scoring department, and I think they end up getting it done.

Mills will turn the ball over; the Pats just need to make them count. This is a game that has a distinct Patriots advantage in every aspect yet somehow feels will be ugly…or this is a game where the Pats outclass an inferior opponent despite having the odds against them and win going away.

Pats win 24-6.

The Deshaun Watson-Miami Dolphins Saga

We’ve heard it for nine months, but Watson to Miami chats are heating up again. The Dolphins would be risking too much to make it happen.

Deshaun Watson Miami Dolphins Saga
Credit: Miami Herald

The Build Up

The Deshaun Watson-Miami Dolphins Saga started nine months ago when he officially requested a trade out of Houston. Since January 28th, the Dolphins have been rumored to be interested in the Pro Bowl QB.

Miami was heavily discussed among the national media when Watson’s preferred destinations became public and Miami was first on that list. The media questioned whether Chris Grier and Brian Flores believed in Tua Tagovailoa. They also thought Stephen Ross was pressing for Watson. Maybe it was everyone in the organization wanting Watson because he gave the team a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl now rather than a year or two later.

Everything became a lot more complicated in the spring, though. Between March 16th and April 14th, Deshaun Watson was accused of sexual assault and harrassment by 23 different women. Many expected Watson to be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List until his legal matter was sorted out, but that didn’t happen(and still hasn’t). This would have shutdown trade talk as he wouldn’t have been able to play for the time being. 

The Watson to Miami rumors continued throughout the offseason, but finally cooled down a few weeks before the season started.

Well, that was until August 29th. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that the Miami Dolphins were frontrunners to land Deshaun Watson. The NFL world picked up right where they left off, debating what it would take for Miami to land Watson.

The Latest Updates

Over the first three weeks, talks about Watson to Miami had decreased again.

This time, it was Jay Glazer who dropped big news. On September 29th, Glazer tweeted Miami is still the most likely landing spot.

Glazer never said a deal was sure to get done. He just said that if a deal were to happen, Miami is the likeliest to make it happen. He then doubled down, telling fans to “keep an eye on this situation.” 

On September 30th, Alex Donno suggested a trade was very likely to happen and said Monday is the day it will get done.

Josina Anderson reported similar news soon after.

All of this could just be speculation and smokescreening. Alex Donno’s source is someone close to Nick Caserio. Could that be Caserio trying to drive up the asking price? There are way too many scenarios at this point to know what’s going to happen with Watson.

Is Watson an Upgrade over Tua Right Now?

Whether Watson would be an upgrade over Tua Tagovailoa at this point in time doesn’t seem to be much of a debate. Deshaun Watson has proven to be one of the best QB’s in the league when healthy and playing. 

Watson is a 3x Pro Bowler who has only improved as his career goes on. Last year, Watson threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. Watson is also a significant threat with his legs. Over the equivalent of 3.5 seasons, Watson has 1,677 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns. 

The numbers and play speak for themselves. Watson can be a franchise QB for years to come.

Does this mean Tua Tagovailoa is a bust? No. Does it mean Tua can not become what Watson is? Also no. 

But at this point in time, Watson is a better QB than Tagovailoa. For that reason it’s understandable why Miami, or any team, would be doing their due diligence on Watson.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple and there are numerous risks involved.

Potential Risks of Bringing Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins

There are numerous significant risks involved for the Miami Dolphins. Most of the risks all branch from one main issue: 23 sexual assault allegations.

  1. If Deshaun Watson is traded to the Miami Dolphins, his allegations will not disappear. Although he is able to play right now, it’s possible he’s placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List after a trade is made. This would make him ineligible to play. Yes, Miami would negotiate something in the deal that would void the trade if he isn’t able to play a snap; however, it’s a risk nonetheless.
  2. Since he isn’t already on the Exempt List, it could be fair to assume he won’t be placed on it until at least the end of this year. Assuming Watson can play immediately, he’d play 13 games at the most this year. After this season, his legal situation may still be undecided and put next seasons status in question.
  3. Miami would be giving up a lot of assets to secure Watson. According to the most recent reports, the Texans are asking for 3 first-round picks and 3 other assets. Those three other assets would likely be a variation of second and third round picks. Giving up 6 draft picks that could be used to build a deep team would be a major risk for an organization that seems to be headed in the right direction after 20 years of mediocrity.
  4. There’s also a risk from the long-term POV. If Tagovailoa develops into the QB we all know he is capable of being next year, this move will be questioned for years to come due to the amount Miami will have given up. Of course, it’s a risk in and of itself betting on Tua to reach a great level. However, from long-term, giving up 6 high picks and letting Tua become a great QB on another team would make the Watson move seem unnecessary in retrospect. The Dolphins are in year 2 of a rebuild, and don’t need to force success right now. They have time to see if Tagovailoa can develop into who they think he’s capable of being. 
  5. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing. At this moment, Deshaun Watson is innocent. But when a person has 23 allegations of sexual assault, giving up 6 picks and likely giving up on Tua Tagovailoa may not be a great look for the organization. Obviously, if Watson comes to Miami, the legal issues go away, and he wins, then all will be peaceful. But now, trading for him would reflect poorly on the organization.

Are the Risks Worth the Reward?

If someone told the Miami Dolphins management and staff that Deshaun Watson would constantly be top-5 QB in the league and the Dolphins would be Super Bowl Contenders for at least the next 10 years, they’d absolutely pull the trigger. They’d probably do it for more than “just” six picks.

Unfortunately, as I explained above, it isn’t that simple. 

When taking into account what Miami will have to give up, the backlash they’d face, and the fact that Watson’s legal matters are far from complete, a trade to Miami does not make sense.

In 2019, the Dolphins stripped their entire roster and were assembled to fail. The end goal was to have a high enough draft pick to select Tua Tagovailoa. They did exactly that. He started 9 games and went 6-3. 

This past offseason, the Dolphins added playmakers on the offense for Tua. They drafted Jaylen Waddle and signed Will Fuller. The Dolphins also named Charlie Frye their QB Coach. Frye has worked with Tua since high school. Co-OC’s George Godsey and Eric Studesville designed an offense to fit Tagovailoa that is RPO based. This offense allows him to use his accuracy and quick decision making to move the ball.

It’s been almost 18 months since Tagovailoa was drafted. He’s started 10 games, and won 7 of them. The organization has built around Tua as if he is the man of the future.

Risking the last 18 months of work and giving up a plethora of valuable future assets for a QB with an uncertain legal matter seems very dangerous. The reward would be huge(so would the price for that reward), but as of now, the risk is bigger.

Overall

We in the public have no clue what’s going to happen. We have heard this rumor more times than I can recall at this point. If it’s going to happen, it may get done as soon as Monday. But we’ve heard this so many times, it’s likely the same this time. Houston smokescreens, media narratives, and fan impatience seem to be driving this discussion more than anything.

Trading for Watson would require Miami to give up substantial future assets, be extremely confident that the legal matters will have absolutely no further impact on his NFL career, and likely mean giving up on Tua Tagovailoa.

That seems like a costly price to pay for anyone. 

The Dolphins should stick with Tua Tagovailoa and give him the opportunity to lead the team to the finish line this year. If they are displeased and ready to make a move, maybe Watson’s situation will have more clarity in the offseason. At that point, Houston may reach the point of trading him for far less than what they’re asking now.

At this point, it makes no sense for the Miami Dolphins to trade for Deshaun Watson.

Follow Rishi Desai on Twitter.

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Week One Review: Jaguars at Texans

@HindenburgScout reviews the Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the Houston Texans.

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

They came, they saw, they got conquered. So rarely do teams get the opportunity to start a new era with as much optimism as the Jacksonville Jaguars were given. So rarely do teams coming off of fifteen straight losses have a chance to open the season against a team with as much turmoil and uncertainty as the Texans. Simply put, most expected the Urban Meyer/Trevor Lawrence tandem to start their respective NFL careers with a win. But, that’s why they play the games, right?

What Went Wrong?

In short, pretty much everything at one point or another. Procedural penalties, dropped passes, miscommunication and a forced abandonment of the run game put the offense and Trevor Lawrence in an impossible situation. Defensively, this team misses Tre Herndon.

Tyson Campbell may yet end up a fantastic player, but right now he’s not. Andrew Wingard playing vital snaps over rookie Andre Cisco was a predictable gaffe for the coaching staff. The pass rush actually had an impressive day generating pressure and harassing All-Pro journeyman starter Tyrod Taylor, but the veteran was able to escape and extend play after play.

The list could go on and on discussing what went wrong. Let’s look at some critical plays early in the game.

Damien Wilson and Tyson Campbell look uncomfortable and out of place here with a zone responsibility. Campbell must improve in this area, and several others, if he is to be the contributor he was drafted to be.

Communication simply has to better on the back end. Giving up easy completions like this to the Texans isn’t something this team can afford to do. Urban Meyer has already spoke of how narrow the margin of error is the NFL, and the Jaguars have less than most any.

This is the risk you run in a man heavy scheme against a mobile quarterback. Pressure is great, but if the pass rush doesn’t get home and the play is extended it really stresses a secondary playing man coverage. Griffin and Henderson are a fine starting duo, but they won’t hold up forever.

Will The Real DJ Chark Please Stand Up?

Dj Chark gets his own section in this week one review as a result of his play in the Jaguars match up against the Texans, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Chark is absolutely vital to the success of the offense. His speed, big play ability and (usually) reliable hands are unmatched by anyone else on the roster.

Holding penalties that stall drives, dropped passes on third downs and getting handled by the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III cannot happen to Chark. In a year where strong play could earn him a lucrative extension in an offense that will challenges defenses vertically with balls thrown by Trevor Lawrence, he just has to better than he was Sunday.

This isn’t to say he didn’t make plays against the Texans or that I expect his target share to dry up. He caught a beautiful touchdown. He ran a good dig on third and long to extend a drive. His route running is crisp, and he has all the ability to be The Guy for Trevor Lawrence moving forward.

Sunday’s game was a rough start for DJ Chark. He resembled the guy who struggled mightily last year more than the 2019 version who posted a 1000 yard season. Tyron Johnson is going to be given the chance to be the recipient of some dep shots. Moving forward, Chark must play like the talent the team believes he is.

Is There Reason For Hope?

Absolutely. Trevor Lawrence is going to be the best quarterback in franchise history. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell flashed some creativity with play calling, especially on first down. James Robinson is still a stud at running back, and one would believe holding penalties won’t completely dismantle the running game every week.

The run defense gave up less than four yards per carry to the Texans running backs. CJ Henderson and Shaq Griffin played well, excellent at times. Tyrod Taylor was pressured on a consistent basis and plenty of quarterbacks on the Jaguars schedule won’t be able to escape as often. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson looked like a viable pass rush tandem for maybe the first time together, though the latter still has a long way to go.

Laviska Shenault is going to get his touches in this offense. Tunnel screens were called frequently on first down, and the play above was a great play call.

Using Trevor Lawrence’s mobility and comfort on these concepts is something the team must do more frequently. Lawrence said as much post game. Here, Lawrence reads the Cover 3 concept and puts the ball exactly where it needed to be.

DaVon Hamilton is going to be really, really good in this defense y’all.

Overall

If you won’t believe me, believe someone smarter than me. Lawrence made a litany of rookie mistakes Sunday. Three turnovers is a bad day at the office for anyone. Despite the struggles, he showed exactly why he’s been considered the best quarterback prospect in perhaps a decade.

He’s only going to get better with experience. He has the ability to elevate this Jacksonville Jaguars team beyond it’s perceived ceiling. Sunday was tough. Guess what? There are going to be weeks that worse. But there’s also going to be weeks that are so much better. Yes, there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jaguars.

Let me know what you think, Duval. I’m here for y’all. I want to be where you come for all things Jacksonville Jaguars. So, if there’s a specific player or part of the game you want a film breakdown of, just let me know!

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Match Up Preview

@HindenburgScout previews the Jacksonville Jaguars week one showdown against their division rival Houston Texans

Credit: lineups.com

Tale of the Tape

Jacksonville Jaguars

2020: 1-15 (15 straight losses to end season)

Defense ranked 31st, registering just 18 sacks

Offense ranked 28th, averaging 326 yards per game

Key Addition: Trevor Lawrence

Houston Texans

2020: 4-12

Defense ranked 30th, registering just 9 takeaways

Offense ranked 13th, averaging 375 yards per game

Key Addition: Tyrod Taylor

The Houston Texans lead the all time series 25-13

What’s Changed in Duval?

Short answer? Everything. Shad Khan brought in one of best collegiate coaches of all time, one with a stellar track record and a burning hatred for losing. Trevor Lawrence is one of the most highly regarded quarterback prospects of the last decade. A new, aggressive scheme defensively is noticeably improved in the front seven. The secondary, although young, is very athletic and filled with play makers.

The optimism around the team is as high as it has ever been. Sunday’s game in Houston marks the beginning of a new era. This is so much bigger than a week one divisional showdown on the road. There are no moral victories to be had when playing for Urban Meyer. The expectation is to win, whatever the cost.

A Look at Houston

Um, Houston? You have a problem. The Texans are one of the most talent barren teams in the NFL. Without going into depth and opinion surrounding the star quarterback, suffice to say without him the Texans are downright bad on paper. Marcus Cannon starting at right tackle, a last minute change at kicker, former Jaguar Chris Conley a starting receiver, times are tough for the Texans. First year Head Coach David Culley absolutely has his work cut out for him.

Tyrod Taylor is a veteran presence at the quarterback position, and he should be aided by a consistent run game. How much pressure the Jaguars generate in passing situations and how well they defend the run will dictate this game. Defensively, the Texans can make life difficult for an offense that hasn’t had a chance to gel quite yet. Whitney Mercilus has always been a problem for the Jaguars offensive line.

Very few situations would lead one to believe a team coming off of 15 straight regular season losses deserve to be favored, but this is one. The Texans are seemingly without any sense of identity or stability right now. Divisional games are always a bit unpredictable, but it is difficult to point to any phase of the game and argue the Texans are better right now.

Key Battles

As with every game, there are critical match ups that can greatly influence the outcome. Here are five of the biggest battles to watch on Sunday.

  • Jaguars OT’s v. Whitney Mercilus
  • Texans OT’s v. Josh Allen/K’Lavon Chaisson
  • Jaguars secondary v. Brandon Cooks
  • Texans secondary v. DJ Chark
  • Trevor Lawrence v. Texans DC Lovie Smith

Final Thoughts and Predictions

It is easy to get excited if you are a Jacksonville Jaguar fan right now. Why wouldn’t you be? However, let’s take off the teal colored glasses for a moment. The Houston Texans won 4 games to the Jaguars 1 a season ago. Much of the Jaguars fortunes rests on young players adapting to the NFL.

A brand new coaching staff and scheme on both sides of the ball will have growing pains. Trevor Lawrence will make rookie mistakes. The Texans are a veteran team who could easily force a game defining mistake or two. The secondary could fail in big moments. This is an NFL regular season game, and anything can happen. All the optimism in the world doesn’t change the fact that this team was the worst in the league a year ago.

But… I feel confident in predicting the Urban Meyer era starting in the win column. The defense will harass Tyrod Taylor and register 3 sacks and 1 takeaway. Trevor Lawrence throws for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Chark and Shenault. James Robinson breaks 100 yards on the ground and adds a score of his own. Oh yeah, and Lambo is automatic. Jags win, 27-17.