The Last Step: Preview for the AFC South Championship Game
By Zoltan Paksa
Why the Colts will win:
When a secondary plays most of the time like the way the Jaguars do (making middle-tier QBs look like Peyton Manning), what can you expect when they actually play him? More bad news – although Jaguars-killer Dallas Clark is on IR and so is Anthony Gonzalez, Manning has found a way to coach a bunch of no-names into a dangerous corps of receivers. Even worse, Austin Collie will most likely return from his concussion and will add even more of a challenge to the Jaguars’ defense. The Jaguars will already have their hands full with elite WR and Manning-favorite, Reggie Wayne. He makes me nervous all by himself. With help from Pierre Garcon and now-starting TE Jacob Tamme, who have finally hit a rhythm with Manning, these four receivers (and Blair White, who has had plenty of success this year) represent a huge challenge for the Jaguars secondary. Especially since we don’t know if starters SS Courtney Greene or LB Justin Durant will play. We saw last Sunday how much Greene means to our secondary and Justin Durant is our fastest linebacker and will be needed to cover Tamme. Although Rashean Mathis and Don Carey had good games last week, the secondary must find a way to play at their highest level of the season. Remember in Week 4, then-starting safeties, Gerald Alexander and Anthony Smith, forced two crucial turnovers. I think Mathis and Derek Cox are capable of coming up big for us with the turnovers, but they need to be on their game and aggressive. Unless the Jaguars running game can produce an absolutely colossal game (200-300 yard game with 3-4 rushing TD), they can’t win this game without winning the turnover battle!
The other match up I really don’t like is RT Jordan Black against LDE Robert Mathis. Jordan is very good in run support, not so much in pass blocking. Once again, I hope the Jaguars will help him out using Greg Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew or Marcedes Lewis on his side on pass plays to help protect David Garrard. I’m not worried about Eugene Monroe against Dwight Freeney, especially with Freeney banged up and only marginally effective in their last two showdowns.
Another fact that worries me, that in the regular season, and especially in December, Peyton Manning is the QB (except for Tom Brady, of course) that you do not want to meet. I’m absolutely sure that his QB ratings will be well above a 100. But what matters is how much he will be beyond that.
|QB||QB rating versus the Jaguars||Result||Average QB rating in the 2010 season||QB rating vs. Jaguars compared to the average QB rating|
|Average at W||93.03||W||86.77||107%|
|Average at L||120.62||L||94.62||127%|
The QBs who played vs. Jacksonville had in average 15 % better, then there season average, but those signal callers who actually won against the Jaguars were 27% better then there QB ratings. But to beat the Jaguars the lowest QB rating was 108,85 by Kerry Collins on MNF. The average rating of the QBs who beat the Jaguars were 120, 62%.
Now, Peyton Manning’s passer rating is right now 91,2. I fully expect that, he can produce that 15% boost at the Lucas Oil Stadium and they he would be at 104, 88 (91,2 +15%). But the statistics shows, so far the worst QB record against the Jaguars at a loss was 108, 85 by Collins. If the secondary can limit Manning around this area, then Jacksonville’s winning chances will receive a pretty big boost (actually I think they could win this game if that happens). But with his receivers and his phenomenal abilities it will be a very, very hard thing to do. But as the stats pointing out the Jaguars can sometimes (vs. Houston or Oakland) can edge out even a great QB performance as well.