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2021-01-03
Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts
League : NFL

Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction & Preview


 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Indianapolis Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, as they try to sneak into this year’s NFL Playoffs. The Colts are coming off a 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, while the Jaguars lost their 14th straight game, a 41-17 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Jacksonville is 6-9 against the spread this season, while the over-under is 8-6-1. They have failed to cover the spread in each of their last three games, including last week’s loss to the Bears in which they were a 9.5-point underdog. Indianapolis is 8-7 against the spread, while the total has gone over in nine of their 15 games. They have failed to cover the spread in their last two games. The Colts were a one-point favorite in their loss to the Steelers. 

With number one draft pick locked up, Jaguars look to play spoiler

With the New York Jets winning their last two games, the Jacksonville Jaguars are assured of getting the number one in next year’s NFL draft. Now the only thing left to do is knock the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs. The Jaguars haven’t won since week one of the season, when they beat the Colts to open the season by a score of 27-20. Jacksonville was a seven-point underdog in that game. The Jaguars will be without a couple of key contributors from that game, however. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who started the first seven games of the season before having his season derailed with a thumb injury, has been benched in favor of Mike Glennon, while rookie running back James Robinson is out for their season finale with an ankle injury.

 

Glennon has started four games this season for the Jaguars. He took over in week 12 after Jake Luton was ineffective filling in for Minshew II. Glennon had a pair of near-misses, as he nearly led the team to upsets of Cleveland and Minnesota, losing by two and three points, respectively. He got a third straight start against the Tennessee Titans in week 14, but was benched for Minshew II. Jacksonville’s version of musical quarterbacks continued two weeks later when head coach Doug Marrone went back to Glennon. Even after a subpar performance against the Bears last week, Glennon has been named the starter for the season finale on Sunday.

Glennon, who was 24-37 for 211 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in their loss to Chicago, has completed 62.0% of his passes for 811 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions.

“It was definitely an interesting week,” Glennon said on espn.com. “But no excuse for anything like that. We came out pretty well. It was a 10-10 ballgame, but then a poor decision by me before the half and then they got three points and it seemed like it went kind of downhill from there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t kind of recover from there.”

Robinson has rushed for 1,070 yards this season, but he will miss out on an opportunity to break the record for the most rushing yards by an undrafted rookie. He is 34 yards short of Dominic Rhodes’ record of 1,104 yards in 2001. Minshew II has been the teams second-leading rusher this season with 153 yards, leaving Dare Ogunbowale, who has 18 carries for 95 yards this season in six games, as the top rushing option for the game on Sunday. He got the majority of his statistics in last week’s game, as he rushed for 711 yards on 14 attempts for a 5.1 yards per carry average.

DJ Chark, Jr. has been their top receiver with 53 catches for 706 yards and five touchdowns this season. Another position that has been a revolving door has been the kicking position. The Jaguars have used an NFL-record six different placekickers this season. Aldrick Rosas is in his second stint this season with the Jaguars, as he has made eight of 11 field goals and all seven of his extra points. He is 3-5 from beyond 50 yards.

There is no secret why Jacksonville is 1-14 this season. They are near the bottom of the NFL in nearly every offensive and defensive category. They are the third-worst scoring team in the league, averaging just 19.5 points per game this season. The Jaguars are averaging 329.0 yards per game. Defensively, they are giving up the second-most points (30.9 per game) and the most yards (416.4 per game) in the NFL, including 271.1 passing yards per game.

Besides Robinson being out for Sunday’s game, running back Nathan Cottrell (hip), linebacker Dakota Allen (ankle), wide receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring), and wide receiver DJ Chark, Jr. (shin) are all questionable for the game.

 

Colts looking to get back to the postseason

After a one-year playoff hiatus, the Indianapolis Colts enter the final week of the season tied for both the AFC South lead and the final wildcard spot in the AFC. The Colts are tied with the Tennessee Titans for the division lead and are tied with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the three wildcard spots. The Colts lose all tiebreakers, so if all four of the above teams win, the Indianapolis Colts will stay home for the playoffs. However, a Colts win, and a loss by just one of those teams, and Indianapolis is in. If the Colts make the playoffs, they can end up anywhere from the fourth to the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs.

 

Four of Indianapolis’ five losses this season are to teams that are either in the playoffs or are still alive for a playoff berth. The Colts missed a golden opportunity to move closer to the playoffs last week, as they blew a 17-point second-half lead against the Steelers. Pittsburgh scored the final 21 points of the game to ‘steel’ the victory. It was a tale of two halves, with Indianapolis outgaining Pittsburgh 206-28 in the first half, and the Steelers winning the yardage battle in the second half, 326-159. Philip Rivers threw for 270 yards in the game, which put him over 4,000 yards for the 12th time in his Hall of Fame career.

“We gave them (the Steelers) life,” Rivers said on espn.com. "We’ve been on the other side of those. They were the aggressor as it got to be a 10-point game, a 3-point game and I don’t mean that from a play-calling standpoint, it just had that feel like ‘oh boy,’ and we were trying to hang on.”

Rivers has completed 68.2% of his passes in his first season in Indianapolis with 23 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor needs 84 yards rushing to top 1,000 yards for the season, while he has nine rushing touchdowns. T.Y. Hilton has been the Colts' top wide receiver this season with 53 catches for 735 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Nyheim Hines leads the team in receptions with 57, and has 795 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving).

Indianapolis is outscoring their opponents by an average of 28.2-23.2 this season. They have the eighth-best passing team in the NFL with 259.3 yards passing per game, and is averaging 374.1 total yards per game. The Colts defense has been near the top of the NFL for the majority of the season. They still rank eighth in total yards given up per game (335.4) and they have the second-best rushing defense in the NFL, giving up just 93.0 yards rushing per game.

On the injury front, quarterback Philip Rivers (toe) is listed as probable, while tight end Jack Doyle (quadricep), cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (concussion), defensive tackle Denico Autry (hip), defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (ankle), wide receiver Marcus Johnson (quadricep), tackle Will Holden (ankle), wide receiver Michael Pittman, Jr. (concussion), and safety Khari Willis (concussion) are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Tackle Anthony Castonzo is out after being placed on injured reserve after undergoing ankle surgery.



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