Indianapolis Colts fans’ confidence dipped quite a bit after the team tied the rebuilding Houston Texans in the opener—specifically falling from 93% to 63% that their team is “headed in the right direction”:
The good news is that despite playing three quarters of fairly uninspired football, the Colts could’ve won that game handedly had it not been for two end zone drops by receivers—even not factoring in ex-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship’s slicing shank wide right in overtime.
Are better days ahead though traveling to Jacksonville, which historically has been the Colts’ personal “house of horrors” over almost an entire decade now?
If there’s real reason for optimism, it’s that Colts veteran starting quarterback Matt Ryan is 4-0 against the Jaguars in his career—all matchups as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. DraftKings Sportsbook have the Colts as 3.5-point favorites for a reason.
“Matty Ice” may be the cool, calm, and collected presence the Colts need to end the losing streak in Jacksonville once and for all—and get over the hump.
It also could be somewhat of a ‘revenge game’ for Colts new edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who was originally a 2016 third round pick of the Jaguars to begin his NFL career. He spent his first four NFL seasons and became a Pro Bowler in 2017—playing on what was once considered one of the league’s best defenses, making the AFC Title Game that same year.
In 2020, the Jaguars traded Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings, and he then had career stops with the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders before recently joining the Colts.
Of course, certainly also helping the Colts’ chances would be the return of 4x NFL All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, roaming the middle of the field and making plays.
However, Colts fans think Leonard’s odds of debuting are a little better than a coin flip—who was a full participant during Thursday’s practice and is admittedly feeling better compared to last week, following offseason back surgery:
Leonard would be a welcome addition to the Colts defense, but again, the team’s top brass and medical staff could be careful with him for at least one more week — holding him out.
Ideally, Indianapolis should be able to beat the Jaguars without him, but after last season’s shocking season finale beatdown in Jacksonville and the disappointing ensuing tie to the Texans last week, nothing is a given when it comes to these Colts and playing in the AFC South.
There’s some reasons for optimism, but this is a Colts fanbase that continues to be hurt.