Jaguars-Colts Preview

The Colts have proved one of the more difficult opponents

historically for the Jacksonville Jaguars, especially during trips

to Indianapolis.

The Jaguars would appear to have a prime opportunity to earn a

rare win there Sunday, while the Colts might view Jacksonville’s

visit as an ideal chance to avoid dropping to 0-10 for the first

time since 1997.

The Jaguars (2-6) have lost 15 of 20 matchups with the Colts,

and only their 0-5 record against New England is worse.

Jacksonville has also claimed just two wins in 10 trips to


The Jaguars, though, will face a much different AFC South rival

in the first of two matchups this season.

Without Peyton Manning, the Colts (0-9) rank near the bottom in

the league with 14.2 points and 282.8 yards per game. Curtis

Painter is averaging 193.5 yards passing over six starts, around

100 fewer than Manning put up in 2010.

Painter went 13 of 27 for just 98 yards in last week’s 31-7

defeat to Atlanta, and Indianapolis also lost tight ends Dallas

Clark (leg) and Brody Eldridge (hand).

Neither will be available against the Jaguars.

“Both guys have sustained some pretty significant injuries,”

coach Jim Caldwell said. “What I mean by that is they’re going to

lose more than a week.”

Injuries to its offensive stars aren’t the only reasons for

Indianapolis’ struggles. The Colts are among the NFL’s worst

defensive clubs with 31.4 points and 406.1 yards allowed per


They’ve also forced just one turnover in their last six games

after forcing seven in their first three, and defensive ends Dwight

Freeney and Robert Mathis have combined for eight sacks – 5 1/2

fewer than at this point last season.

Over its previous 12 seasons, Indianapolis won 138

regular-season games, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl. The

Colts also tied an NFL record with nine consecutive playoff

appearances, a streak that’s assuredly over.

“It’s different than any other year obviously we’ve ever had,”

Caldwell said. “Our task is to find a way out of it. I think our

guys continue to fight, and I think you can see that they still

give the effort. We’ve just got to give them some more help and

making certain they’re in position to win.”

Indianapolis, though, might have its chance to break through in

the next two weeks with sub-.500 Jacksonville and Carolina visiting

Lucas Oil Stadium. After that stretch, the Colts will face only one

other team that currently has a losing record – Jacksonville in the

season finale Jan. 1.

The Jaguars also have a young quarterback who is struggling in

Blaine Gabbert. The No. 10 overall pick’s 45.7 completion rate is

last among qualifying quarterbacks and he’s totaled 907 yards in

seven games – 314 fewer than Painter over the same number of


Gabbert failed to top 100 yards for the second straight game

during a 24-14 loss in Houston before the bye week and completed a

season-worst 33.3 percent of his passes (10 of 30).

“We’ve struggled on offense this year in our passing game,”

coach Jack Del Rio said. “Everybody is aware of that. We’re going

to keep hearing about it until we do something about it to make it

better. Right now it’s not very threatening.”

With that anemic passing attack, the Jaguars rank last in the

NFL with 12.3 points and 242.6 yards per game, but they possess a

top-10 defense.

That unit hasn’t helped Jacksonville stop a six-game road losing

streak, which began with a 34-24 defeat to Indianapolis on Dec. 19.

Donald Brown ran for a career-high 129 yards and a touchdown in the

Colts’ win that day, and is coming off his best performance of the

season, 70 yards on 16 carries against Atlanta.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL’s sixth-leading

rusher with 740 yards, topped 100 during a 31-28 home victory over

Indianapolis on Oct. 3, 2010, and his 929 yards in 10 matchups with

the Colts are his most versus one team.

Jones-Drew was held to a season-low 63 yards in the loss to

Houston but could fare better against the Colts, who are allowing

the second-most rushing yards per game (146.1).

No team has allowed more rushing touchdowns than Indianapolis’