The Jacksonville Jaguars faced the Indianapolis Colts in the opener and came on top. However, things will get considerably harder for the Jags when they meet their division foes in Week 6 due to the return of running back Jonathan Taylor, who just signed a multi-year extension.
Taylor inked a three-year deal worth $42 million with $26.5 million guaranteed Saturday, per multiple reports. This puts an end to a contract impasse he and the Colts experienced in the season. While the Pro Bowl running back wanted to get a top-market contract, Indy was hesitant to give him a long-term deal since he was coming off an injury-riddled season. At one point, things got so bad that Taylor requested a trade.
In the end, Taylor stayed put but started the season on the Injury Reserved. He was activated Saturday and will suit up against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. Barring any setbacks, he will also play when the Jags and Indianapolis meet in Week 6.
Taylor was one of the most dominant running backs from 2020-2021, racking up 564 carries for 2,980 yards with 29 touchdowns. Last year, he only managed 816 yards on 192 carries but he was held back by an ankle injury. At last healthy, Taylor will give the 2-2 Colts a boost.
The Jaguars will face a much improved Colts team in Week 6
The Jaguars beat Indianapolis in the opener but they had to sweat the win. Although the Colts trailed most of the game, they got control when defensive tackle DeForest Buckner returned a fumble for a touchdown. In the end, Jacksonville took back the lead but the outcome wasn't decided until the fourth quarter.
Looking back, the Colts shouldn't have given the Jags so much trouble, with Deon Jackson getting the start at running back and Anthony Richardson making his NFL debut. Yet, that's what happened. In Week 6, Jacksonville will face a more experienced Richardson, and Taylor, not Jackson, will be getting the nod at running back.
The one thing the Jaguars have going for them is that the bout will be held at EverBank Stadium. Although the Bank isn't known for its home-field advantage, the Colts haven't won a game there since 2014. Then again, the Jaguars are no slouch and if they're going to beat Indianapolis in Week 6, it will be for several reasons besides their home-field advantage.
Trevor Lawrence is playing pretty well and if the offensive line can give him enough time to throw, Jacksonville should have no trouble moving the ball. On the other hand, the defense has been a strength for the Jaguars this season. In particular, they've excelled at stopping the run, seventh in touchdowns allowed and eighth in total yards.
This is to say that as big as Jonathan Taylor's return is for the Colts, the Jaguars have the means to stop them. Of course, they must first take care of business and defeat the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Once they do, they can then turn their attention to Indianapolis.