Jaguars @ Colts 1:00 P.M. E.T. on CBS
The (3-5) Jaguars take on the (3-5) Colts in a divisional AFC south match up. The Jaguars are losers of 4 straight after having a promising 3-1 start to the season . The Colts started 1-5 this season but have been winners of two straight with Andrew Luck looking like the old Andrew Luck. The playoffs are beginning to look like a long shot but if one of these teams would like to make a run, a win this week would be a start. I’ll break down the game below.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Offense: Getting Leonard Fournette going.
The Jaguars get running back Leonard Fournette back in the fold this weekend. It’s pretty clear that whenever Fournette is healthy and playing, the Jags are a different team. Fournette’s physical running brings a toughness to the Jags that you’ve seen all last season, but has been lacking so far this season. With Fournette back in the lineup, it also helps Quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jaguars passing attack. Teams will now stack the box and force the Jaguars to pass the ball, which will allow more opportunities for Bortles and the Jags receivers. If the Jaguars want to make any kind of second half surge, Fournette must get going and provide a much needed spark to the Jags offense.
Defense: Stopping Andrew Luck.
Andrew Luck has been looking like the Andrew Luck of old lately. That’s bad news for the Jags, who has struggled against Luck in the past. Stopping Andrew Luck is the biggest key to the game. The Jaguars tend to struggle against QB’s like Luck, QB’S that are mobile and get the ball out of their hands quickly. The only problem is that the Quarterbacks they have struggled against, is nowhere near as talented as Andrew Luck. Luck and the Colts will be motivated for this game after Jalen Ramsey called him out over the off-season by saying he’s not a good Quarterback. Ramsey needs to back up his talking or the Jags defense will be in for another long Sunday. The Jaguars will likely be without Cornerback A.J Bouye but will get D.J Hayden and Tyler Patmon back which will help. The Jags pass rush must be relentless if they want to stop the Colts offense and Andrew Luck.
Telvin Smith vs Marlon Mack.
Telvin Smith has been a big disappointment so far this season. Smith has been lost in coverage, missing tackles and not filling in gaps, quite frequently this season. He will have a big test with Colts running back Marlon Mack who has been on fire lately. Ever since coming back from injury, Mack has had three consecutive good games, rushing for 89 yards vs the Jets, 126 vs Buffalo, and 132 vs the Raiders while averaging 6.1 yards per carry combined. Smith must be all over the field in the running game and passing game to prevent Mack from making any big plays.
Darius Leonard vs Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde.
Colts 2nd round pick, rookie Linebacker Darius Leonard from South Carolina state has been a rookie sensation. He has helped improve a horrid Colts defense from a year ago, to a more respectable defense. So far this season, Leonard has 88 tackles including a 17 tackle performance vs Buffalo, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. The Jaguars are going to want to run the ball with Fournette and Hyde and will make it a point to do so. Leonard is arguably the Colts best defensive player as a rookie and is also disruptive in the passing game with 4 sacks, so pass protection is a big key as well. For the Jags to be successful at running the ball, Darius Leonard must be accounted for and they must know where he is on the field at all times.
Right now, it’s tough to pick the Jags to win any game. The Jaguars are really struggling losing 4 straight and can barely move the ball. There is no question that the Jags are way more talented than the Colts but right now, the Colts have the elite Quarterback, they’re at home, and have all of the momentum. It’ll be interesting to see how the Jags respond coming off the bye week after losing four straight games and getting some key players back may make a big difference this week but until they show us, I can’t see them winning.
Jaguars 24, Colts 27