The Indianapolis Colts (1-1) look to stay competitive in the AFC South as the take on their first divisional opponent of the season when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) on Sunday, September 23rd, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Four Stampede Blue writers and SB Nation Football hub editor Joel Thorman provided previews of the game.
Brad Wells, Stampede Blue
Like last week, this is another game that this young Colts team should win. Not can win. Not might win. Should. It's games like these that test just how effective Chuck Pagano is at communicating his message. All offseason, preseason, and for much this young regular season Pagano has preached an underdog mantra. He even went so far as to give shirts to players to remind them of where people view them in the power rankings.
Against the Jaguars, that message won't work.
The Colts are favored, and they are the better team. That is no slight to Jacksonville's defense (which is excellent), but quarterback Blaine Gabbert has struggled these first two games. Maurice Jones-Drew will see more action, but he is still only three weeks removed from a lengthy holdout. If the Colts run defense has indeed improved, they will control MJD and win.
Colts 28, Jaguars 20
Matt Grecco, Stampede Blue
Since the AFC South was formed, only five times out of twenty games has the margin of victory been more than one score, with six of them being decided by 3 points or less. In other words,expect a close game being decided in the 4th quarter. Last week we saw Andrew Luck do something a rookie hasn't done in over 40 years, and the Colts may need him to do it again.
Going into the Bye week 2-1 would be a huge accomplishment for this young team, and like last week, it's a game they should win, and will go a long way to telling us how well they'll do the rest of the season. If they are to sniff 8 wins, this is a game they need to win, and I think they will.
Colts 24, Jaguars 23
Nick Ragsdale, Stampede Blue
The Colts get a chance to have a winning record for the first time in 20 months (yes, it's been that long).will always strike fear into the hearts of Colts fans - but luckily, the Jaguars have playing quarterback. It's cliche, but if the Colts can stop the run early and get a lead this game should be a walk in the park. If it's close and comes down to a late field goal - and is kicking... uh-oh.
COLTS WIN 27-20
Josh Wilson, Stampede Blue
There are more keys to the game as well, but if the Colts do these three things - keep Andrew Luck standing up, stop MJD, and play good special teams - they will win. And I'm picking the Colts to win this one, just as I did before the season started.
Believe it or not, with a win Sunday, the Colts would be 2-1 and above .500 for the first time in over 20 months, along with 1-0 in the division with a bye week coming up. Of course, that's all depending on a win.
And that's exactly what I'm predicting.My pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 17
Joel Thorman, SB Nation
A tale of two different first-round quarterbacks. That's not really fair, though. Andrew Luck's level. The Jaguars don't have the offense to compete with the Colts.is not on
The pick: 21-13, Colts
Consensus is the Colts will stay close (or potentially tie) the Texans in the division. Keep it here at Stampede Blue for gameday coverage of Week Three in the NFL.