The Jacksonville Jaguars have had plenty of time to ruminate on their blowout loss in London to the Dallas Cowboys during the bye week, but now they have to dust themselves off and travel to Indianapolis to face Andrew Luck and the Colts.
The Jaguars have been absolutely manhandled by the Colts in their last 3 meetings, and very little has changed to expect a different outcome. Unless Blake Bortles has a big game, the Jaguars could be in for a long day against one of the best quarterbacks in football.
To get some intel on the Colts heading into Sunday, we pinged our friends over at Horseshoe Heroes and asked editor Evan Reller a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
1. The Colts lost a key piece in Ahmad Bradshaw this past week, and it looks like they might have to turn to Trent Richardson to shoulder the load. Can he keep this running game afloat, or should Colts fans be worried?
"Even with Bradshaw, the run game had started to sputter in the past few weeks. Richardson simply isn’t a very good running back and lacks the quick acceleration you need in the NFL, especially behind a shaky offensive line. The Colts still have the best passing attack in the league, but Bradshaw was a big part of that.Bradshaw was particularly dangerous in the red zone offense, which had some issues even with him on the field. If ever there were a time for Richardson to prove he is an NFL back, this would be it. He’ll be given more than enough chances to produce, but I have my doubts that he will."
2. The Colts have been significantly better on defense than most anticipated coming into the season (the beatdowns from the Patriots and Steelers notwithstanding). How have they been able to play well for long stretches at a time?
"The schedule has been a big part of their success. They have played a lot of quarterbacks who don’t handle the blitz well, or are rookies, and it has worked out in their favor. The secondary has played fairly well too, but Greg Toler won’t be playing on Sunday with a concussion.This defense is built to handle most of the NFL, but wilts against quality opponents. Without a true pass rush, it is hard to believe that this unit is anything more than average."
3. How will the absence of Dwayne Allen affects the Colts’ offense on Sunday?
"Allen was having a fantastic year, and it sounds like he will only miss a week with this injury. He is a matchup problem for opponents downfield, but has a bigger impact in the run game as the team’s best blocker. Allen also gave the Colts a great red zone option with his size advantage over most defenders.It will push Coby Fleener back into the spotlight, a role he performed at a decent level last season. Fleener had a great game against the Patriots, and hopefully its a sign of things to come from an inconsistent player."
4. Andrew Luck has been terrific this season – how big has the improvement been from last season to this year?
"He’s made a huge leap this season, but it wasn’t particularly surprising. He has a ton a weapons to choose from this year and his natural development has seen his touchdown totals improve dramatically.Luck had 23 touchdowns last season, and already has 28 this year. He spent most of the season leading the league in TDs and still leads in yards. Luck is thoroughly carrying the Colts this season."
5. What’s your prediction for the game?
"I believe this will be a repeat of the game earlier this season. Neither team has changed all that much and the Colts will be itching to rectify the mistakes from last week. This will likely be a one-sided frustration win for Indianapolis."