Over this NFL Season, I’m previewing one game a week with pros and cons for each team. I’m doing my best to do each team at least once in the season which is why this week I have chosen Jacksonville taking on Indianapolis instead of some of the clashes between some of the ‘bigger’ teams such as Ravens v Steelers.
This game is actually really going to effect the AFC South Division, with all of the teams currently off to a slow start at 1-2, the points difference against conference teams could make up all the difference at the end of the regular season.
Currently, the leading team in AFC South is the Tennessee Titans thanks to their +12 point difference.
The Jags were humbled in Round 3 with a thrashing at the hands of a determined Tom Brady and focused Patriots outfit.
Can Blake Bortles rally the troops in this weeks important clash against Indianapolis?
I’m not gonna lie, its freakin’ hard to find any pros at all for Jacksonville heading into this one! Their one win has been against an underwhelming Miami side.
The one positive I’ve been able to draw from their game against the Patriots is that when Bortles went looking for Allen Hurns, the Jags attack actually looked semi-dangerous.
They created an amazing 59 yard TD against the Patriots – something that not many teams could pull off.
This is how bad I’m stretching to find a pro. Jacksonville have been victim to a string of injuries, keeping many of their first string and some second string players off the pitch. With all these injuries, the Jags may get lucky and be underestimated enough to pull something out of the hat for this one.
Gus Bradley has shown in the past that with a bit of time, he can really help improve a teams defence. This is his third season with the Jaguars.
This is usually when Bradley’s game plan starts to show and we see signs of improvement. But will it happen this week? I doubt it.
Writing cons for this side will be much easier.
Going into their game against the Patriots, they already had two defensive backs injured and out and lost three more during that game.
By the end of it, they had Peyton Thompson who usually plays corner back (and has been cut 6 times in the last 2 seasons form various teams) and Nick Marshall, an unknown, undrafted rookie playing defensive back.
The game against the Patriots set the record for the most points ever allowed by the Jaguars. Not a good thing to have weighing on the mind heading into such an important game, especially a game away from home.
The atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium won’t help the pressure for the Jaguars.
As of late, Jacksonville have gotten into a bad habit of giving away flags on plays. Against the Pats, Jacksonville were flagged 7 times for 114 yards. They also gave away an interference penalty which neutralised an interception and handed the Pats a massive 80+ yard return that had the Patriots on the Jaguars 1 yard line.
Andrew Luck pulled the Colts out of the darkness last week with a tight win over the Tennessee Titans and steered them away from a 0-3 season start.
In a gutsy performance on the road, Luck hopes that this is the start of a hot streak for the Colts.
Preforming When it Matters.
Andrew Luck pulled off two TD passes 56 seconds apart in the 4th quarter. I don’t care who you are, when you’re down by that much in the 4th quarter, 2 touchdowns is damn impressive.
Luck seemed to finally be getting rid of some of that rust that has plagued him for the last few weeks and if he’s gearing up, Jacksonville need to get ready.
History Backs Them Up.
I know that this comes up every week but never underestimate history and home field advantage and the mental effect it can have on players.
This game is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home field of the Colts. The last 3 times these teams have played, the Colts have won by a deficit of 20 points or more with their last encounter going 23-3 in the way of Indianapolis.
Luck Knows How to Roll.
The Colts were in this exact scenario last year-0-2, gain their first victory and then go on a winning streak.
Last year they ended on a respectable 11-5 which isn’t too bad seeing as their 2 losses were from the 1st two weeks, they recovered very well. In an ironic twist, the team that they beat before going on 5 game winning streak last season was the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I expect more of the same this year.
Indianapolis went into this season with great depth at corner back. That depth is being tested.
With at least 4 of their CB’s in question for this game with a wide variety of injuries, including neck, ankle and concussion issues, it will be interesting to see if the Colts defence will be up to par.
Out of Luck?
Andrew Luck has looked sluggish as of late. In fact, it wasn’t until the 2nd half of the game against the Titans where he really seemed comfortable.
The Colts game plan hinges on whichever Andrew shows up on game day. Will we see the Andrew Luck that threw 2 Touchdowns in 56 seconds? Or do you think he’s out of Luck? (Not sorry for the pun).
Its obvious the Colts are still getting over the loss of experience when it comes to Reggie Wanye and its also abundantly clear that they desperately miss Ahmad Bradshaw, their ex-Running Back.
It’s a reasonably young team and this season may end up being written off as a rebuilding season.
Colts will win but not as easily as recent history between the two sides suggest. Andrew Luck and the Colts move to 2-2 with a 28-26 victory.
Players to Watch:
Jacksonville Jaguars: Allen Hurs at Wide Reciever. Hes had a few niggly injuries the past couple of weeks but he has potential to become a lethal combo when combined with Bortles. If he gets some space down field-he may break the game open.
Indianapolis Colts: Keep an eye on Luck. If hes found his form this season, he should rip this game apart with all the attacking options he has at his disposal. Donte Moncrief is also slowly forming himself into a big play threat so watch him closely as well, especially if the Colts get backed into a corner.