Jacksonville Takes On Indianapolis, Looking For a Similar Outcome Like Week Seven: What To Watch
Jacksonville, FL — The Jaguars (7-4) had an inside track for a bye week in the playoffs before last Sunday’s game vs. the Cardinals. After the loss, Jacksonville needs to keep pace with the Tennessee Titans to have a shot at winning the AFC South and a home playoff game.
Jacksonville welcomes the Indianapolis Colts (3-7) to EverBank Field Sunday afternoon. Last time out, the Jaguars shut out the Colts 27-0, racking up 188 yards on the ground without star running back Leonard Fournette.
The Jaguars’ need to get their offense back on track after their 218-yard performance last week vs. Arizona. Despite the play from Jags’ quarterback Blake Bortles, Jacksonville has a top 12 offense (349 yds/gm) led by the NFL’s best rushing attack (154 yds/gm).
Get Bortles Going
Jacksonville must find a way to get more production out of Bortles. Over the last three games, Bortles has 56 percent completion percentage, averaging 195 yards in that span, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Bortles has proven he’s not the future for the Jaguars, so opposing teams dare the Jaguars to pass the ball due to their defensive formations. However, if Jacksonville wants to stay on track towards the playoffs, they need more production from the fourth year quarterback.
The Jaguars have an excellent matchup in the passing game vs. the Colts. Indianapolis has the league’s 30th ranked pass defense yielding 266 yards per contest, via 8.2 yards per attempt. Bortles had a season-high 330 yards last time vs. the Colts; can he repeat the success?
Revive The Run Game
Jacksonville leads the NFL in rushing with nearly 1700 yards in 12 games. However, over the past three weeks, their rushing attack has been stagnant, averaging just 121.7 per contest. Fournette accounted for only 68.7 yards during that span.
“Main thing we have to do is stay focused,” Fournette said. “Everybody is game-planning to stop the run game, and sometimes it’s hard. We’re trying to get it moving but I have faith in our coaching and our players, and I think we’re going to be able to get it done.”
The Colts give up just 109.5 yards on the ground. Indianapolis will test the Jags descending rushing attack, stacking the box as most teams do against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville can’t be so predictable when running the ball. They historically run on first down, using the same plays and formations from the first half of the season. Last week they used Blake Bortles in the read option to get things going, The Jags need more of that creativity.
Stay The Course Defensively
Jacksonville has put the pieces together on defense to become playoff contenders. 12 games in, Jacksonville leads the NFL in total defense (281 yds/gm), scoring defense (15.3 pts/gm), pass defense (168.7 yds/gm), and sacks (41).
Jacksonville shut out the Colts in week seven 27-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium; they’ll look for similar success on Sunday at home. The Colts have the 27th ranked offense (296.5 yds/gm), they don’t run very well posting just 95.3 per contest on the ground, and give up the most sacks in the NFL with 47.
Sooner or later carrying the team defensively will take its toll on the Jaguars, but not Sunday. Look for Jacksonville to smother the Colts again, as they keep stride the AFC South race.
Prediction: Jacksonville 27 – Indianapolis 10