DeForest Buckner vs. Tyler Shatley
DeFo is coming off a 2 sack performance against the Broncos where he finally started looking his usual dominant self. The Colts desperately needed pressure from the inside, and Buckner’s massive frame disrupting passing lanes|. The Jaguars have just lost starting guard Ben Bartch for the season, and starting in his place will be veteran backup Tyler Shatley, who was solid filling in last week but is nowhere near as talented as Bartch. It is also worth noting Shatley is a bit undersized for the guard position, standing in at 6’3’’ against Buckner’s 6’7’’ frame. This a matchup the Colts would be wise to take advantage of.
Colts’ Tackles vs. Josh Allen
Allen went off against the Colts in their Week 2 matchup, racking up two sacks while getting in the backfield seemingly without effort at all. The Colts’ tackles really struggled against the Broncos, as Matt Pryor allowed a whopping 9 pressures and rookie Bernard Raimann was flagged for holding several times (some were soft though), so there is no telling who will be starting on Sunday. Dennis Kelly might finally get a shot, starting on the right side of the line while Braden Smith remains at right guard, or perhaps Smith will slide back to tackle while Fries takes over the interior.
Gus Bradley vs. Doug Pederson
Pederson clearly had the upper hand against Bradley, as Trevor Lawrence posted an 83% completion percentage for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts’ defense needs to do a much better job at stopping the short quick passes if Lawrence proves he can hit those consistently. I am not worried about their running game, as other than Robinson’s 37-yard touchdown run, the Jaguars’ running backs had 31 carries for 47 yards last time we met. In the end, the key to this game will most likely be the Colts’ defensive line putting quick pressure on Lawrence, and the coverage unit taking away the quick hits, forcing Lawrence to go deep to beat them.
MPJ / Alec Pierce vs. Shaquill Griffin / Tyson Campbell
The Colts’ offense has relied mainly on Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie receiver Alec Pierce to move the ball through the air this season, as they combine for almost 30% of the Colts’ receptions this season despite missing a game each. Shaq Griffin and Tyson Campbell have been solid for the Jaguars this season, avoiding mistakes and seemingly not getting burnt at all, so it will be a tough matchup for the Colts.
Frank Reich vs. Whatever is tormenting his creative mind
Yes, the offensive line play has been abysmal this season, and injuries to the already limited playmaking group have hurt the Colts, but it just seems to me that Reich’s play-calling has never been so vanilla and so ineffective. I miss the creative play-action calls where receivers were left wide open, misdirection runs with Quenton Nelson running in front of JT in open space, creative routes to get Hines open, and the Colts moving the ball up and down the field at will. Reich is now infamous for his slow starts, as he is once again adjusting to a new quarterback, so perhaps this is the week where the Colts’ offense finally starts getting it together.