We have made it to the final week of the NFL season. The Colts are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot and need a little help to get in. Any scenario for Indy to make the postseason includes a victory over the Jaguars on Sunday, so this game is of the utmost importance.
Here are my key players for Sunday’s game.
Jonathan Taylor (RB)
Since the loss of Marlon Mack in the very first game of the season, Jonathan Taylor has become the starting running back. Fan expectations for him were pretty high all year long, and I think he has reached and exceeded those expectations in the second half of the season.
He’s been the hot hand for several consecutive weeks now and has five rushing touchdowns in his last three games. Taylor has 916 rushing yards on the season, which means he needs 84 yards to hit the 1,000 rushing yard mark in his rookie year.
The Jaguars only victory of the year comes against the Colts in week 1 of the season, but these teams are very different now. I expect this game to be pretty simple, and I expect the offense to revolve around the run game.
You should hear Taylor’s name all game long and expect some big runs. This is a must-win game for the Colts, and there is no reason that they would lose twice to a team that will be getting the first pick in the NFL draft.
Taylor was underutilized in the second half last week against the Steelers, and I believe that has something to do with the Colts' loss. Reich should learn from this and give Taylor the time he deserves.
The Jaguars defense is obviously nothing special, and I expect the Colts' offense to fire on all cylinders. If the Colts can get an early lead, they should resort to a run-heavy offense and just use that plan for the rest of the game to keep the clock running.
Darius Leonard (LB)
The Colts have multiple players out in the secondary this week, Rock Ya-Sin and Khari Willis. Furthermore, DeForest Buckner was limited in practice on Friday but is good to go for Sunday’s game.
With all of these injuries, I am picking the guy who in my mind is a leader on the team and always a key player on defense, Darius Leonard.
Leonard is consistently putting up big numbers, particularly in total tackles. He is everywhere on the field and can make any play you ask of him.
His leadership and dominance will be needed once again on Sunday, especially since the Colts are missing a couple of pieces on defense. I’m not terribly worried about the defense for this game because they have guys like Darius Leonard.
Jaguars ruled out WRs DJ Chark (shin) and Collin Johnson (hamstring) for Sunday’s game against the Colts, to go along with RB James Robinson (ankle), who also is out.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2021
The Jaguars have ruled out some of their best offensive weapons, and therefore pose little threat to the Colts who have been impressive on defense all year long.
Look out for number 53 on Sunday, he’ll certainly make an impact in this game.