The Colts have proved one of the more difficult opponents
historically for the Jacksonville Jaguars, especially during trips
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
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’