Jaguars vs Texans Week 1 Picks and Predictions: All Eyes on Trevor Lawrence's Debut

The Jaguars will see new franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence debut in Houston against the Texans in Week 1, and they visit their divisional foes as the favorites. Our picks take a look at how Lawrence's debut will impact NFL betting in Houston.

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2021 7:56 AM ET Read Time: 5 min
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars NFL
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The first Sunday of the NFL season is finally here and we can finally stop looking over preseason usage rates and watching the games through our fingers in fear of injuries.

One of the most intriguing matchups of Week 1 is the divisional game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, a tale of two quarterbacks (only one of which is playing) with first overall pick Trevor Lawrence looking to start with a bang while Deshaun Watson remains sidelined.

NFL betting lines show the Jags as 3-point favorites, but do they deserve to be odds-on favorites? Check out our free NFL picks and predictions for the Jaguars vs. Texans.

Jaguars vs Texans odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line has held steady for this game, opening with the Texans as 3-point underdogs and it stays the same today, despite the Jaguars losing Travis Etienne. Since opening, we’ve only seen the points total move up half a point from an Over/Under of 45 to 45.5. Be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets, and also view the full line movement for this game.

Jaguars vs Texans picks

Picks made on 9/9/2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Jaguars vs Texans game info

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, September 12, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Jaguars at Texans betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

Key injuries

Jaguars: Tre Herndon CB (Out), RB Travis Etienne (Out).
Texans: DE Jonathan Greenard (Out), Kevin Pierre-Louis LB (Out), Anthony Miller WR (Out), Deshaun Watson QB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Jaguars are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in September. Find more NFL betting trends for Jaguars vs. Texans.

Jaguars vs Texans predictions

The season is yet to start and it already feels like these two teams could potentially be looking at trouble ahead. The Texans are without Deshaun Watson, who seems unlikely to ever play for them again. The trade of cornerback Bradley Roby to the New Orleans Saints also feels like the team could be beginning their tank already.

Down in Jacksonville, we see a very different situation, albeit one with some similarities. The arrival of first overall pick Trevor Lawrence is a huge boost for the organization but the injury to Travis Etienne, as well as some strange decisions by new HC Urban Meyer, including giving Tim Tebow a chance of making the roster, have raised question marks over his suitability already.

I’m always slightly skeptical of looking at stats when it’s the opening weekend of a new season and there has been so much change at both franchises but it’s worth noting that the Jags are 5-1 ATS in their last six games during the month of September, whereas the Texans are 0-4 through their past four games in September. Not only that but the road team has covered in this matchup frequently through the years, going 13-6-1 ATS over the past 20 meetings.

So, the stats point us toward the Jacksonville Jaguars but how do we see the game unfolding? In my view, there are weaknesses with both sides but it’s at quarterback where the differences begin to become apparent. Trevor Lawrence had some mixed moments during camp but as the season drew closer he managed to up his performances. If Lawrence continues to improve, and I believe he will, then he’s simply far too much of a difference-maker in this game. We saw how impressive he was at Clemson and he has the game-changing ability that Houston’s starting QB Tyrod Taylor doesn’t. Taylor is a great professional but he’s not inspiring and it’s going to be hard for Houston to change the narrative that this season is anything but a rebuild.

When there are two teams who, let’s be honest, aren’t fantastic, you need to back the one with the quarterback who has a big arm and a great football brain. Take the 3-point hit and back the Jaguars here.

As mentioned above, I don’t think Tyrod Taylor is an inspiring QB and I can see his performance being rugged and committed but ultimately struggling to put many points on the board for the Texans. The Texans have a firm committee in a backfield that might have looked impressive three seasons ago but now looks aged and past their best. 

Jacksonville is still a bit of an unknown quantity. Lawrence will become one of the best in the NFL, I’m confident on that, but he’s still likely to struggle at times in his first NFL season. Not only that but the loss of Travis Etienne might be more influential than many other things. The selection seemed strange when it was made in the 2021 NFL Draft but it was clear what Urban Meyer had in mind for the Clemson star. James Robinson is a solid runner but he lacks the dynamism and pass-catching ability of Etienne and I think his loss will hurt Meyer’s schemes, which could lead to a less multi-dimensional Jaguars offense. With question marks over the offenses of both teams, it makes clear sense to back the Under here. 

Now with Travis Etienne on IR, we know that we’ll see a lot of James Robinson this year. A strong and powerful runner, he’s more associated with rushing than receiving, but last year he managed 49 receptions.

As I mentioned above, I think Urban Meyer drafted Travis Etienne so that he could move him about the formation and include him more in the passing game. With Etienne now gone I don’t think Meyer will give up entirely on that idea. I’m not convinced, and nor would Meyer be, that James Robinson is the man to do that, but I think we can safely assume that he’ll still be involved in the passing game.

We’ll likely see Laviska Shenault moved around more, with the former second round pick a lot better of a football player than his gadget status implies. He’ll see lots of action under Meyer but don’t think it’ll rule Robinson out for the passing game. 

The line on Robinson’s receptions sits at 2.5 and you’d have to think that he tops that here, especially against a Texans defense that’s lost its star power.

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