What could Peyton Manning’s injury do to the Jaguars and their playoff hopes?
A healthy Peyton Manning is a dangerous player. He’s a tireless worker, has all the QB skills you could ever want and having a Peyton at QB means your team is never out of a game. Having a Kerry Collins at the helm? Well, let’s just say that he’s no Peyton and you don’t really know which QB you’ll get on game day.
If Peyton misses a couple of games, the Jaguars really won’t notice anything different besides maybe the Colts starting off slowly, which I might add has happened before. The Colts only then went on to win eight of their last nine (2008 season). While I say the effect won’t be as noticeable, it will be there. The Jaguars could always use a head start against the Peyton lead Colts and any lead the Jaguars can build over the Colts will be gladly taken as a cushion for the stretch run.
However, if Peyton misses more than a few games, the AFC South landscape drastically changes. The Titans have a new (old?) QB and a rookie at the helm. The Colts would be without Peyton. The main threat for the top of the AFC South would be the Texans. They are build on offense, however the defense may or may not be good depending on how well Wade Phillips has directed the 4-3 to 3-4 change.
If the Jaguars start off hot, there’s no reason that they can’t be at the very least 3-2 or 4-1. If the Jaguars get to face a Peyton-less Colts twice a year and the transitioning Titans, they would have a good chance of getting four to five wins in the AFC South alone. A long-term injury to Peyton Manning could potentially allow for the Jaguars to get to a 10-win season, otherwise, if Peyton is healthy, the Jaguars, with their brutal schedule, would have to fight to just get to eight wins.