Six Points: Jaguars vs. Colts
The Indianapolis Colts may have saved their season with last week’s come-from-behind victory over the Titans. Sunday, they’ll try make it two wins in a row when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC South matchup.
Indianapolis hopes to build momentum coming off of last Sunday’s dramatic win, in which quarterback Andrew Luck rallied the team in the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville would just as soon forget about last week entirely. The Jaguars went into Foxborough and were blown out by the New England Patriots, 51-17. The task gets no easier this week, as the Jaguars must deal with another dangerous offense in the Colts.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Jaguars and the Colts.
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1. Stay away from the zone
The Jaguars elected to try to contain Tom Brady with a heavy dose of zone looks on defense last week. It didn’t work. With another talented quarterback on tap in Luck, the team needs to get back to its identity as a man-to-man team, particularly against an offense with as many weapons as the Colts.
2. Bring the blitz
Luck is nursing a sore shoulder and won’t be 100 percent entering the game. The Jaguars need to muster whatever pass rush to they can to add to his discomfort. Jacksonville chose not to blitz much against the Patriots, but against banged-up Luck playing behind a shaky offensive line, it would be a smart idea.
3. Find a second option
Allen Robinson is emerging as a reliable receiving option for Blake Bortles, but the team needs someone besides Robinson to step up in order to take pressure off the second-year receiver. With tight end Julius Thomas still out, Allen Hurns is perhaps the most likely candidate. Whoever it is, the Jaguars need to keep the Colts defense from keying on Robinson.
1. Get Andre going
After three games, it’s time to get Andre Johnson going. The veteran receiver has seven receptions for 51 yards through his first three games with the Colts. This could be the game to get him on track. Targeting Johnson against a banged-up Jacksonville secondary should produce positive results. The Colts succeeded in featuring fellow newcomer Frank Gore last week. Now, it’s Johnson’s turn.
2. Continue to build confidence up front
The Colts swapped out three starters along the offensive line last week, and although Luck was sacked three times, the line held its own during the team’s fourth-quarter rally. The group needs to carry over that momentum, particularly against a Jacksonville defense that sacked Luck five times in the first half and forced three fumbled when the teams met in Indianapolis last season.
3. Pick on the secondary
The shorthanded Jacksonville defensive backfield was picked apart by Brady last week. This week, although the team hopes to have cornerback Dwayne Gratz and safety Johnathan Cyprien back, the unit is again unlikely to be at full strength. Luck enters the game with the worst passer rating in the NFL. Taking advantage of the Jacksonville corners and safeties should help put points on the scoreboard and raise his numbers in the process.