After the depressing day of college football, I'm ready to see the Colts pass all over the Jaguars and run the ball if winning with only a couple of minutes left. Damn you Michigan...
Anyways, this game will have the most interesting matchups of the season. We don't know how some of the new starters will do today. There are some rookies that will be getting significant playing time and some other players with little experience seeing a lot of game action. They will be players to look for today with the start of the Colts season. Here are some key matchups for today's game.
Colts LT Charlie Johnson v. Jaguars RE Derrick Harvey: This is the biggest matchup of the game. Charlie Johnson is the top left tackle on this team now, and his first start is against a highly touted and very fast defensive end. Harvey had just 3.5 sacks last year, but he should have a bigger year this year. He was always a project player and he was taken too high. However he is going up against a shaky left tackle who I personally don't trust that much. If Charlie can't block Harvey and Peyton is getting hit, then this becomes a much tougher game.
Rest are after the jump.
Colts Front 7 v. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD has always dominated the Colts. It's usually embarrassing. His worst yards per carry against the Colts is 4. He's had a touchdown in every game against the Colts except for two. He feasts on the Colts defense. However this is not the usual Colts defense. The defensive tackles are big. The linebackers are better. This should be a better defense than the ones that Jones-Drew murdered. Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir have got to get a good burst off of the line and try and at least hit him in the backfield and slow him down. This year the starting defensive tackles aren't defensive ends playing on the inside. They have the size necessary to play defensive tackle and the defensive ends are pretty big too. This should be a huge factor. If the Colts offense is on the field for at least 28 minutes they will win by double digits.
Colts CB Jerraud Powers v. Jaguars WR Troy Williamson: Jerraud Powers is starting in his first game with the Colts. Marlin Jackson is still a little banged up from his knee injury last year so they are starting him off as the nickel back. This is a huge matchup. As we all know, Troy Williamson is not a good wide receiver, but anything can happen in a single game. If Powers can play as well as he did in the preseason the Colts will be in good shape. I think cornerback might be one of the strongest positions for the Colts. I have a feeling that Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey will both look like amazing pickups from this rookie class. If these corners can shut down the passing game and make the Jags one-dimensional, it will almost guarantee a Colts victory.
Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez v. Jaguars CB Derek Cox: Anthony Gonzalez has finally worked his way into the number 2 spot at wide receiver. We all know that he was the number 2 receiver last year with how poorly Marvin played, but now his playing time and respect from the defense will increase. Derek Cox is his first test. Cox is a rookie out of William & Mary who has the tough assignment of going up against a receiver that is ready to break out. I feel like Anthony Gonzalez could have an amazing year this year. His hands are so reliable and he has been a great deep threat. I'm feeling like Gonzalez could have the year that Reggie Wayne had in his third year as a pro. Wayne had 838 yards and 7 touchdowns. I think Gonzalez could surpass that. He needs to get off to a hot start. A rookie corner would be perfect to start out a nice year with.
These are the main matchups for this game. I feel very good about this game even if it is the first game of the season. I am going to predict a 31-17 win for the Colts. The Colts should be a very different team this year. I expect to see very few mistakes and a lot of rushing yards. GO COLTS!