Jacksonville faces Indianapolis: Three bold predictions
By David Levin
There is no reason to sugar coat anything about the Jacksonville Jaguars season so far. Injuries and poor play have led to a 3-5 record the first half of this season. On Sunday at Indianapolis, the team can start anew and begin their mark toward the playoffs.
When Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey met with the media on Thursday, he preached what every other player in the locker room knew about the start of the second half of the 2018 season. These Jaguars must take everything one game at a time.
There are eight of them left. After digging themselves a hole and in the midst of a four-game losing streak, there can be no looking ahead to next week with the Pittsburgh Steelers rolling into town. The Colts are better than their 3-5 record would indicate, something Ramsey and his teammates must be aware of.
"“We have to take it week-by-week of course,” Ramsey said. “We do know we have eight more, so the opportunity is great. We can kind of try to do what we envisioned doing in the first eight, but just make it happen these last eight.”"
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Ramsey won’t be without his running mate, cornerback A.J. Bouye who is out again with an injury. Andrew Luck is playing better football and faces a Jaguars secondary after a year off the field. It should be a test this defense is ready for. Now, with the same goals in mind of making the playoffs, Jacksonville once again becomes the hunter looking for their identity once again.
"“We know the talent we have in here,” explained Ramsey. “We have faith that we can get it done. We just have to go out there and do it.”"
The Jaguars can squash some of the rumors that the team has lost its way prior to the bye week with a win. Here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
Yannick Ngakoue gets three sacks – Several Jaguars have enjoyed success against the Colts. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is one of them.
According to the Jaguars public relations department, Ngakoue has recorded 4.5 sacks in four career games against the Colts, highlighted by a career-high-tying 2.5 sacks last time Jacksonville was in Indianapolis. Look for the Jaguars to use Ngakoue’s speed on the outside to push Luck around in the pocket. I’ll put him down for three sacks.
This is also could be a big day for the interior defensive line. If Ngakoue and Calais Campbell can pressure Luck, Malik Jackson could rush up the middle, which could mean a multi-sack game for the defensive tackle.
Return to sender – This might be the week the Jaguars return game takes one to the house. It would be a welcomed addition as the team has had issues scoring this season.
Whether it is Dede Westbrook or Rashad Greene, there will be a punt return brought back for a score this weekend. The return game and special teams have played better this year, but Jacksonville has yet to score a special teams touchdown.
A score could also come from a fumbled caused on a kickoff. Any way they can do it, the Jaguars will score a touchdown this weekend.
Donte Moncrief Returns – Donte Moncrief spent the first five seasons of his career in Indianapolis and signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville this offseason. Could he be the X-factor this weekend?
Moncrief has put up modest numbers this season (29 catches, 379 yards, and 2 touchdowns), but are already better than his 16-game stats from last season. The Jaguars could target him often on a surface he knows well.
Look for Moncrief to go off for 10 catches and 140 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.