How will the Jacksonville Jaguars play in the final game of a dreadful 2019 season against the Indianapolis Colts?
The Jaguars and Colts are playing what appears to be a meaningless game this week. Both teams started the season strong but failed to keep the momentum going in the second half of the year.
Both teams had rocky starts before the season began. The Jaguars had the unexpected retirement of Telvin Smith and then the Jalen Ramsey soap opera. The Colts dealt with the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck. He was a true franchise quarterback and has been difficult to replace.
Both teams looked pretty good in the first half of the season. The Colts had a record of 5-3 and the Jaguars were a respectable 4-4. The second half of the year has spelled disaster for both franchises. The Colts have won two of five games and currently stand at 7-8. The Jaguars have won a single game in their last seven and are currently 5-10.
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So what went wrong with both franchises this season?
Per Andrew Walker of Colts.com, the team has had difficulty holding onto leads.
"“Three weeks ago, it was a 17-10 lead against the Houston Texans… Last week, it was a 17-7 lead over the Tennessee Titans… Today, it was a 35-21 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” he writes.“All three games, all second-half leads — and yet, somehow, all three resulting in losses for the Indianapolis Colts, who dropped their third straight game, and fifth out of their last six contests overall, 38-35 to the host Buccaneers in today’s Week 14 matchup at Raymond James Stadium.”"
The Jaguars are unable to stop the opposing team’s running game. They have allowed a total of 2,097 rushing yards to date. This presents a huge problem. Marcell Dareus the team’s run-stopping defensive tackle was injured and there has been no one to step in and take his place. The linebacking corps has is young and frequently out of position. This situation has allowed for gaping holes that other teams have taken advantage of.
The Jaguars have a star in running back Leonard Fournette with 1,674 yards from scrimmage and a budding superstar in wide receiver DJ Chark with 974 yards in receptions. The pass rush has still be a solid part of the team’s defensive presence. Josh Allen leads the team with 10 sacks. Yannick Ngakoue has eight and Calais Campbell, who was voted to the Pro Bowl, has six and a half for the season.
The Colts running back Marlon Mack has 1,096 yards from scrimmage and Quenton Nelson an offensive guard is a Pro-Bowl selection. The Colts defense is led by linebacker Darius Leonard with 115 tackles, five sacks, and four interceptions.
Both teams have dealt with inconsistent quarterback play this season.
Per FanSided.com’s Matt Verderame, this is a game that should be one-sided from the start.
"“There is literally no reason for the Colts (7-8) to lose to the Jaguars (5-10) who packed it in months ago,” he wrote."
Those are strong words that are possibly true, but these are two facts fans should remember. The Jaguars are better in the second half of games and it appears the Colts can’t stop anyone in the second half.