5 Storylines to Watch: Colts vs. Jaguars
After making changes to the team’s coaching staff and starting lineup this past week, the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Indianapolis Colts for the second time in a month.
Last week was the most significant week of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2018 season. In a flurry of moves, the Jaguars benched quarterback Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler, fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, placed guard Andrew Norwell on Injured Reserve, oh, and celebrated 25 years of being awarded the NFL’s 30th franchise.
Did I mention that running back Leonard Fournette was suspended for one game by the NFL?
This week, the Jaguars are at home against Andrew Luck and the surging Indianapolis Colts. Fans of the Black and Teal should look for these five storylines throughout the game.
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Cody Kessler on Deck – Cody Kessler will make his second appearance this season and first start. This move by the Jaguars come in lieu of the Bortles’ lackluster 2018 campaign, where he went for 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 60.4 percent.
Kessler will have the opportunity to prove why he should remain the starter for the rest of the season against the Colts’ 20th ranked passing defense, which is allowing 253.9 yards per game.
Offensive Line Scraps – The Jaguars have now lost three week-one starting offensive lineman to season-ending injuries, the latest victim being Norwell. With only A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell as the only offensive lineman to have started week one, the group will need to protect Kessler in order for the offense to move.
The Colts haven’t gotten to the quarterback often this season, only tallying 27 sacks, but a revolving door of offensive lineman could improve those numbers.
Establish the run Without Fournette
After a bone-headed move in Buffalo last week, Fournette will be suspended this week, placing running back duties on Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon. Hyde was recently in the news for his frustration toward his use since joining the Jaguars.
He along with Yeldon will be vital in the Jaguars’ offensive game plan, especially with Kessler in the driver’s seat. The Colts have only allowed a 12th-best 106.4 yards per game.
Look for the Jaguars to ease Kessler into the game with the Hyde-Yeldon tandem.
Not Another Hat Trick – In their first matchup against the Colts in week 10, Luck found tight end Eric Ebron in the end zone three times. Ebron is having a phenomenal 2018 campaign with 12 touchdowns, already more than he did in four years with the Detroit Lions.
Luck will now be targeting Ebron more often after the Colts put tight end Jack Doyle on Injured Reserve. Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson will draw the crucial matchup against Ebron.
Tanking SZN? – The Jaguars were hit with the dirtiest haymaker of them all after their loss to the Bills last Sunday, essentially ending what was already a bleak season.
Standing at 3-8 with nowhere to go but down, it could be in the Jaguars’ best interest to begin setting up for the 2019 NFL Draft in April. It’s not a popular move, but down the line, it would work in the Jaguars’ favor.
The team currently hold the seventh overall pick, just some food for thought.