All the good feelings from the win over Miami are long gone, but the Jags do have a chance to take the division lead this weekend with their matchup with the Colts. Indianapolis is off to a rocky start at 1-2 this season. For a team that made the AFC Title game and were projected to return there, they have not looked the part.
They are most susceptible on the offensive line, something that has been poor during Andrew Luck’s whole career. Last season during their game in Indianapolis, Jacksonville sacked Luck five times and forced three fumbles in the first half. Except for a couple of moments, the pass rush hasn’t been much of a factor this season. They will get Andre Branch back from injury this week, which will help, but unless a player has a standout game (Clemons had three sacks on Luck in last year’s game), Luck should be mostly upright.
Also returning to the lineup is starting safety Jonathan Cyrpien. His counterpart Sergio Brown is doubtful to play, so rookie James Sample, who’s looked good in moments, will start. T.Y. Hilton has killed the Jags throughout his career, so being healthy or more healthy than last week in the secondary will be huge. They should be with all four of their top cornerbacks as well. Gratz is returning and House looks like he’ll play after being hurt last week.
Is Andrew Luck even going to play? He’s listed as questionable and has been held from throwing during practices this week. The Colts backup is Matt Hasselbeck, a guy that was a quality starter for years before settling into a backup role. They even went as far to sign Josh Johnson for a third-string QB just for insurance. Luck and Colt’s coach Chuck Pagano said throughout the week that he will play, so I think he will until I see Hasselbeck walk onto the field. Stopping the run game if Luck doesn’t play will be even more important.
It’s the same thing on the offensive side of the ball as it is every week. If they avoid bad turnovers and timely penalties there’s a chance some damage could be done. Getting T.J. Yeldon going is really important, as usual. Marquis Lee is out again, taking away the speed threat but Luke Joeckel is back at LT. Unfortunately, that’s offset by the loss of LG Brandon Linder for this game. Rookie A.J. Cann will start in his place. It’s still the same, if they can run the ball and Bortles can connect with A-Rob for a couple big plays, they have a chance.
Prediction: Colts 28 Jags 20 – With Luck
Jags 23 Colts 17 – Without Luck