The 0-2 Indianapolis Colts take on the 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend in the first AFC South matchup of the season for either team. Here's your preview for the game:
What Happened Last Week?
The Jaguars started badly, ended badly, and played badly throughout. The Redskins just completely dominated the Jaguars, winning 41-10. Washington held the Jaguars to just 25 total rushing yards, forced a turnover, and recorded 10 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. Yes, you read that right: ten sacks! While the Jaguars were competitive in week one, the same wasn't true in week two.
The Colts started off very well overall, getting the run game going and jumping out to a 20-6 lead on Monday Night Football over the Philadelphia Eagles. But, just like the Eagles did against the Jaguars a week earlier, the Eagles made a comeback, aided by a Colts implosion. They made some bad plays, some bad coaching decisions, and weren't helped out by the refs, either. The Eagles won on a last-second field goal, beating the Colts 31-28.
Key of the Game for the Colts
The key of the game for the Colts is simple: don't beat themselves. The Colts have yet to play a sixty-minute game. They've been inconsistent. They've tried to get fancy at times when what they really need to do is just be consistent. The Colts absolutely are a better team than the Jaguars, but with the Colts yet to put together a complete game, I'm still not sold that they will this week. I know they can, but until they do I'm not counting on it yet. This week, the Colts just need to not beat themselves. They need to just do their jobs, be consistent, protect the football, and then they'll be fine.
Matchup to Watch: Colts Offense vs. Jaguars Defense
The Colts receivers versus the Jaguars secondary. Reggie Wayne has historically had great games against the Jaguars, and so watch for him to do the same again. But what about T.Y. Hilton? He's probable but was dealing with a groin injury this week, and the Colts haven't done a great job at using him. The Colts should take some deep shots with him this week, but we'll see if they do. Also, Hakeem Nicks is questionable with illness, so we'll see how much he actually plays or how effective he is if he does play. The Colts have the receiving talent to put up the stats and the points, but so far, the receivers have been a bit underwhelming. I'd look for them to be intentional about getting some of the receivers (especially T.Y.) going - though, of course, I said the same thing last week.
Matchup to Watch: Colts Defense vs. Jaguars Offense
PASS RUSH!!! The Colts have gotten almost no pass rush in the first two weeks, and it is a huge, huge concern for the team. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are starting several young offensive linemen who just allowed ten sacks a week ago. The Colts need to get their pass rush going this week. Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome, and others need to get pressure. They need to. While it's hard to imagine the pass rush being a bigger concern than it already is, that's exactly what will happen if they can't get pressure consistently on the Jaguars. I think the Colts will be able to get some pressure this week, but that's definitely the matchup to watch this week.
Why the Colts Will Win
It's the Jaguars! While both teams are 0-2, the Colts are clearly the better team. The Colts will be seeking a win in this must-win game against a division opponent, looking to get on the right track. The Colts have issues, but playing the Jaguars is a good way to work on those issues. Even though they're on the road, Andrew Luck and the Colts are clearly the better team (and Luck the best player) and they should definitely win this game.
Why the Colts Won't Win
The Colts have beaten themselves against some of the league's best teams. In recent years, we've seen them be up for games against the league's best but then falter some in games against lesser opponents. Is that going to be true this year again? Plus, the Jaguars always play the Colts tough, regardless of records or talents. The Jaguars will also be looking to get on the right track with a win, and with the issues the Colts have, there's a real chance that they could give the game away with mistakes.
The Colts aren't panicking, but they know the importance of this game. They know that this is a must-win. They've been beating themselves a lot in the first two weeks, but I think that playing the Jaguars will be a good opportunity for the Colts to work on some of their issues. The Jaguars will play them tough, but I think the Colts get their first win of the season.
Colts 34, Jaguars 17
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