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2012 NFL Week Three Preview: Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

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Coming off the first win of the Andrew Luck era, the Colts play host to a familiar foe Sunday afternoon when the Jacksonville Jaguars pay a visit to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Jaguars come in 0-2 on the young season, losing handily last week in their home-opener to the Texans 27-7.

The two teams come in with a unique situation for a young season, in that they've each played a common opponent already this season. Jacksonville went to Minnesota in Week 1, and looked like they had won the game with a TD and 2-pointer with just 20 second left. Unfortunately they gave up a decent kickoff return, then a long pass down the sidelines, and a quick out all within 10 seconds, setting up a game-tying field goal, and then subsequently lost in overtime. The Colts controlled the first 50 minutes of their game against the Vikings last week, until they became very conservative on offense, and the defense let them score twice in the final quarter to tie, before a final drive in 30 seconds, capped off by Adam Vinatieri.

Last season the Colts lost twice to the Jaguars, the second one coming in Week 17, clinching the number one overall pick in the draft. It was the first time the Colts had lost both meetings with Jacksonville in a season, and have lost three of their last four meetings with their AFC South rival. However, both teams have vastly different looks from a year ago, even though former Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio had already been fired before their first meeting last year. Overall the Colts hold a 15-7 all-time record against the Jaguars.

How do the Colts and Jaguars match-up? Let's get to the numbers and find out...

Statistical Comparison Between the Colts and Jaguars:

Statistic Colts Jaguars
Offense Rank Defense Rank Offense Rank Defense Rank
DSR 70.5% 20 76.5% 24 63.0% 30 73.6% 17
ANPY/A 5.086 26 7.645 26 5.446 21 7.203 22
Turnovers 2.50 26 1.00 17 1.00 8 0.50 22
Yds/Drive 28.82 24 32.83 16 20.52 32 33.33 17
ToP/Drive 2:28.0 25 2:52.0 21 2:15.0 29 2:51.0 20
Yds/Play 5.032 24 5.593 19 4.177 32 5.674 22
Orange Zone Eff 60.7% 20 77.1% 29 65.7% 14 64.9% 17
First Downs/Drive 1.77 19 1.96 19 1.35 30 2.00 21
3rd/4th Down 39.3% 16 42.9% 18 34.5% 22 39.3% 14
Avg Start Pos 26.5 10 29.9 8 25.9 9 26.6 19
3 and Outs 3.50 17 4.50 6 5.50 29 4.00 11
RZ Eff 55.1% 29 81.0% 25 71.4% 16 67.1% 13
Plays/Drive 5.727 17 5.870 15 4.913 30 5.875 16
Penalty Yds / Play 0.556 3 1.133 8 0.850 14 0.787 20
RB Success 25.6% 30 36.8% 8 45.2% 14 57.9% 32
Yds/Carry 3.27 26 3.54 10 3.71 21 4.40 20
Overall 26 24 28 22

Keys to the game:

  • Neither team has really shown any real strengths as of yet, but the season is still young. The Colts will need to pass the ball a little better than they've shown so far, which includes protecting Luck. Winston Justice looks like he'll be back in the lineup, but no word on Samson Satele as of yet.
  • The Jaguars defense has been pretty average over the first two games, with the exception of RB Success Rate, something I fully expect the Colts to try and exploit. Now, the Jaguars have faced Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster in their first two games, so this stat could just be a product of that. The Colts obviously haven't been able to run the ball yet this season with any consistency, and could play a big part in the 4th quarter, especially if the Colts have a lead.
  • The Jaguars have really struggled moving the ball down the field, indicated by their low ranks in Drive Success Rate, Yards/Drive, and Plays/Drive. Colts will have to continue this trend if they expect to win.
  • The one thing the Jaguars Offense hasn't done so far is turn the ball over, with only two on the season. Look for the Colts to disguise some coverages, and try to confuse Blaine Gabbert, who played well in Week 1, but terrible last week against Houston.
  • As always when playing Jacksonville, the Colts will have to tackle Maurice Jones-Drew, which hasn't been an easy task over the years. Getting up big early will take away a good chunk of his yards, but he's made a career of bowling over the Colts.

No matter the records of either team, it has rarely been a blowout. 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