Coming into week one, all of the talk surrounding the Indianapolis Colts was that this would be the year that Frank Reich’s team would finally get off to a hot start and win a season opener for the first time in 8 years.
That, unfortunately, didn’t happen as we watched our Colts end a game tied for the first time in the past 40 years. Week one in the NFL is always littered with bizarre results, and last Sunday was no exception. Good teams lose, bad teams win, and the Colts and Texans tied. Who knows what any of it means, but by week 18, we’ll look back with amazement at a result from last Sunday and wonder how it happened. With week one in the books, Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts will look to end another streak and win on the road in the Sunshine State for the first time in seven seasons against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s what to watch for this week.
- Watch for the Colts offense to hit the ground running
In week one, our Colts racked up a league-leading 517 total yards on offense, though they did so on 90 plays (good for second most to the Cincinnati Bengals), and their 5.7 yards per play only comes in at 12th overall, which is less good. That said, putting up yards in bunches in a game that went as poorly as week one for the Colts is a good sign.
The Texans defense threw the kitchen sink at the Colts offense, and in the second half, when they weren’t busy shooting themselves in the foot, the Matt Ryan-led offense was busy doing whatever they wanted to do... until they got near the goal line- but that’s a separate issue.
This week will tell us much about whether the offense is starting faster than in years past. If Ryan and his receiving options cannot get on the same page, we can expect to see a large dose of Jonathan Taylor. If any of us want Taylor to play 17 games this year, we should all hope the Colts' passing offense can take some of the load off of the talented third-year back.
- Is Jags QB Trevor Lawrence the real deal?
In 2021 both the Texans and Jaguars started rookie quarterbacks. No one expected Davis Mills to play better than Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence, the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, has failed to live up to expectations thus far. There are plenty of reasons to believe his lack of success can be explained by the coaching disaster that was Urban Myer.
Now in his second year, the Jags have brought in a new Super Bowl-winning head coach in Doug Pederson, and hopes for Lawrence are sky high. Lawrence was a mixed bag in week one and ultimately threw the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter to lose to Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders. Colts fans should watch to see if Lawrence continues to struggle or if Sunshine can play.
- Can the Colts' pass rush be more effective?
Speaking of Lawrence’s struggles, according to PFF, when Lawrence had a clean pocket, he graded out with a score of 83.1. Under pressure, that number dropped to 29.9. I’m not a huge fan of PFF grades, but I would tend to agree with the overall premise that Trevor Lawrence struggles when he gets pressure.
Week one saw that the Colts' defensive line struggled to pressure Davis Mills, but the Texans used a lot of quick passing concepts designed to get the ball out of the QB’s hand so there wouldn’t be time to properly rush the passer. In week two, the Jags are likely to dial up more deep passing concepts, and Lawrence is more likely to try to extend a play, so this weekend could tell us a lot about how good the Colts' pass rush might be in 2022.
- How will the Colts handle 2022 first overall pick Travon Walker?
Every year for as long as I can remember, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a new top ten draft pick who is super talented and full of promise, this year that guy is Travon Walker. Walker’s draft story is an interesting one, but for the sake of brevity, I won't rehash it here; just know there were plenty of people who didn’t believe Walker should be the pick.
In week one, Walker logged both a sack and an interception, and the rookie looks to be on his way to making the Jaguars look smart for drafting him. The Jaguars already had talented pass rusher Josh Allen on their squad when they took Walker, so it will be interesting to see how the Colts deal with two potent pass rushers off the edge.
- Can the Indianapolis Colts win in Jacksonville for the first time since 2014?
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Colts' first two games have included years-long streaks that the team has hoped to break. The first was a long losing streak in week one that was... kind of broken, in week one. Next up on the list is the Jacksonville curse.
Winning or losing in Jacksonville won't determine how the rest of the season will go for the Colts, but at some point, the Colts need to beat an inferior Jags team on the road. The biggest question this week will be, can they make that happen?
The Indianapolis Colts got off to a very unusual start in week one, and they hope to follow it up with a week two victory against Doug Pederson and the Jaguars. It will be interesting to see how the Colts plan to win their matchups and ultimately approach getting the win. Win or lose, I think we can all agree - no one wants to see another draw.