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2014 NFL Week Three Preview: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Colts desperately need a win, and playing one of the worst teams in the NFL can't come at a better time. Can the Colts get win #1 of 2014 in Jacksonville?

Michael Hickey

The Colts sit 0-2 after disappointing losses in Denver and to Philadelphia, but Week 3 offers just what the doctor ordered: a trip to Jacksonville to take on the lowly Jaguars. It's the gift that keeps on giving each year for the Colts; well, until the ownership and front office for the Jaguars finally start to see some of their good work pay off. But for now, I think it's just what the Colts need.

Both of these teams are 0-2, but a very different 0-2. Jacksonville jumped out 17-0 on the Eagles in Week 1 before imploding on themselves, giving up 34 points in the 2nd half to lose by the same margin they had the other way in the first half. Then last week they got pummeled by the Redskins 41-10, so if you're keeping score at home they've been outscored in their last six quarters 75-10. Yikes. It might be frustrating to you that the Colts are 0-2, but they had chances to win both games against 2013 Playoff teams.

One very familiar face to this series will not be around this year, and that is Colts-killer Maurice Jones-Drew. In all honesty, after seeing what the other Colts-killer, Darren Sproles, did to the Colts Monday night, I'm not sure I could have taken a MJD game this week. Here is what the Colts will be (thankfully) missing out on from the former Jaguars RB: 97 Rush Yards per game at 5.1 YPC plus another 26 yards in the pass game and 15 total TDs. I absolutely will not miss seeing him in the backfield. Taking his place this season is former Vikings RB Toby Gerhart, who has not really impressed yet this year.

Last year the Colts won both match-ups quite easily: 37-3 in Week 4 and 30-10 in Week 17. They've also won three straight in the series after losing three straight (oh, 2011). Overall the Colts are 18-8 all-time against the Jaguars, with identical 9-4 records both home and away (kinda strange).

How will Week 3 play out? Let's jump into some numbers and find out.

Statistical Comparison between the Colts and Jaguars (Adjusted):

Statistic Colts Jaguars
Offense Rank Defense Rank Offense Rank Defense Rank
DSR 69.7% 14 71.9% 25 61.8% 30 71.8% 24
ANPY/A 5.361 16 6.596 28 4.501 24 6.110 20
Turnovers 1.16 5 1.61 19 1.57 15 1.74 16
Yds/Drive 29.08 14 32.44 27 22.59 32 29.44 19
ToP/Drive 2:38.0 19 2:51.0 27 2:12.0 31 2:45.0 20
Yds/Play 5.177 17 5.560 24 4.476 31 5.092 16
Orange Zone Eff 50.4% 21 49.9% 11 50.0% 22 61.9% 30
First Downs/Drive 1.66 13 1.88 28 1.21 31 1.78 21
3rd/4th Down 35.1% 24 43.2% 27 32.4% 29 44.1% 28
Avg Start Pos 31.4 11 28.8 12 31.7 8 31.6 22
3 and Outs 4.03 20 2.95 29 5.04 32 4.02 15
RZ Eff 59.3% 27 59.3% 11 59.6% 26 71.5% 26
Plays/Drive 5.656 12 5.835 25 5.029 31 5.787 20
Penalty Yds / Play 0.758 12 1.029 3 0.825 18 0.747 20
RB Success 40.2% 25 47.6% 21 30.9% 32 44.1% 16
Yds/Carry 4.11 19 4.36 21 3.26 31 3.39 4
Overall 15 25 32 21

Keys to the Game:

  • We'll start when the Colts have the ball, and I think they should be able to move the ball pretty easily down the field. They've been pretty good in the first two weeks getting first downs, and I think that'll continue against a Jaguars defense who is just 24th in Drive Success Rate.
  • You can tell these numbers have some of last season in them as the Colts Turnover number is still pretty low despite four turnovers already this year. They took care of the ball so well last year I hope we aren't seeing a regression.
  • The Jaguars Defense gives up a lot of points once the opponent gets into scoring position, ranking 30th in Orange Zone and 26th in Red Zone. If the Colts are settling for field goals, it's really not a good sign for the Offense. They have to score touchdowns.
  • Don't expect the success in the running game we saw Monday night to repeat itself on Sunday, as the Jaguars are 4th in Yards per Carry Defense. Really helps them out a lot too, as seen by their record...
  • Jacksonville's Offense is the worst in the NFL. If the Colts can't play well this week on Defense, Then I'll really start to panic.
  • Pass rush has been a hot-button topic for the Colts, as they've had zero of it without Robert Mathis. The Jaguars gave up ten sacks last week to Washington. Yes, ten. If we see a clean pocket for QB Chad Henne, I might pull my hair out.
  • You can see all the other categories where the Jaguars are 30th or worse on Offense. This shouldn't be a game. I will give the Jaguars credit for one thing and that is a lack of Turnovers. The only mistakes they make are not getting many first downs or points.

I know division games are usually "throw out the record book" games, but I think we'll see a sense of urgency from the Colts and they'll put this game away early, much like they've done in the past three meetings. I think the Jaguars do get some points, but the Colts will win comfortably, minimizing the panic for the time being.

Colts 27, Jaguars 17

Thursday Night Pick: Falcons 28, Buccaneers 27