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2018 opponent scouting report: Jaguars special teams, predictions and draft watch

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NFL: International Series-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Overview

On November 11, 2018 the Indianapolis Colts will host the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this week ten match-up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our new look Colts.

The last time these two teams faced off was December 3rd of last year. The game ended up being a 30 to 10 win for a Jaguars team who has won four of the last five against our Colts. Given that the Manning era Colts owned the AFC South for the better part of a decade, that’s not good. Hopefully this Sunday we see our Colts get things going in the right direction and come away with a win against a crumbling Jags team.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in week ten.


Special Teams


Kicker:

NFL: International Series-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Lambo has turned his career around in Jacksonville. Before being signed by the Jags, Lambo was a career 81% field goal kicker and was 90% on extra points. Since being signed midway through 2017 he has hit 97% of his field goals and 94% of his extra point tries.

Earlier in the year Lambo nailed a kick from 57 yards. Right now he is kicking as well as anyone in the league and this guy has a monster leg.


Punter:

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Cooke isn’t as good of a punter as Lambo is a kicker. Cooke’s 42 yard average is good for 32nd in the league this season. There is at least one punter who was cut earlier in the year with a higher average than Cooke.

To be fair this isn’t factoring in net yards nor punts downed inside the 20 but generally speaking being ranked 32nd at something where there are only 32 of you doing that thing, isn’t a good look. I don’t expect Logan Cooke to flip the field effectively on Sunday.


Returner:

NFL: International Series-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Dede Westbrook will return punts and D.J. Chark will return kicks. Both return spots were filled by Jaydon Mickens before suffering an ankle injury that ended his season.

Chark has only returned three kicks during his NFL career. which means we have no idea what this guy will do. I’m sure the Jags coaches have seen enough from him in practice to put him back there, but I couldn’t begin to predict his performance on Sunday.

Westbrook, like Chark only has three punt returns this season but he is averaging nearly 17 yards a return. Granted the sample size is tiny, it will be something to watch in this game.


Final Thoughts for The Week:

This Jaguars team is better than their record. Their offense is primed with talent at their skill positions but are currently being held back by a less than healthy offensive line and poor quarterback play. Their defense isn’t as bad as what the national media seems to have told us and the talent they have on that side of the ball is just silly.

This is a really tough match up. I feel it’s strength vs. strength with the Colts offense going against the Jags defense and weakness vs. weakness with the Colts defense facing the Jags offense. The questions in this game surround how well Blake Bortles plays and which Colts defense shows up? Is it the Colts defense that held Adrian Peterson to 20 yards on 11 carries or is it the Colts defense that allowed 56 yards on 10 carries for Wendell Smallwood?


Prediction

Colts 27

Jags 24


Draft Watch

Heading into week 10 the Colts currently sit at 3-5 which ties them with the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Cowboys are playing a tough Eagles team on the road on Sunday night. This is a game they very likely lose.

The Lions are playing on the road at Chicago against a better than expected Bears team, the Lions should lose this game.

Our Colts are playing the Jags.

The Buccaneers travel to face the Washington Redskins in yet another game where the 3-5 team looks like the safe bet to lose.

If these teams play to these expectations, it means the Colts will drop as low as 15th (with a Ravens and Packers loss) instead of the possible top 10 pick they currently hold. This is a big week for our Colts, a divisional game is always important but to have any realistic chance of making the playoffs (and drafting late in the first round) this is truly a must win situation for our Colts.