Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Start Time: 9:30 a.m. ET (6:30 a.m. PT)
Location: London, England
TV Channel: CBS
After a 26-22 win over the San Diego Chargers, the Indianapolis Colts need to move on to their next challenge: a division game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a different continent.
The Colts started the season with a 0-2 record for the third straight season. Luckily, they have a history at bouncing back from dismal starts.
The Colts have followed their 0-2 starts with at least three straight wins in the past two years. History needs to repeat itself if they want to be in the playoff contenders late in the season.
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Traditionally, this matchup has been one-sided. The Colts have a 6-2 record against the Jaguars since the start of the 2012 season.
Jacksonville won the most recent matchup 51-16. The game was close for a half before the Jaguars overwhelmed a depleted Colts’ squad in the second half.
It is important to note Andrew Luck did not play in this game. In fact, he did not take one snap against the Jaguars in 2015.
Per usual, the Colts’ success revolves around Luck. They need to play well if they want any shot at winning a football game. In three games, Luck has 913 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars are led by Blake Bortles, who has had an up-and-down season. He has thrown for 843 passing yards and five touchdowns, but he does have five interceptions and one lost fumble.
Bortles’ inconsistent start is part of the reason why the Jaguars are 0-3. Specifically, they have been behind on the scoreboard for nearly this entire season. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Jaguars have only taken six offensive snaps with the lead this season.
Both sides enter Sunday’s contest with injury issues. Both teams would love for some of their players to return from injuries this weekend.
For the Jaguars, they did not have offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Baltimore Ravens due to a concussion. Also, Jared Odrick, Tashaun Gipson, Davon House and Prince Amukamara are all dealing with nagging injuries.
On the flip side, the Colts just put outside linebacker Trent Cole on their injured reserve list. Plus, key contributors like Donte Moncrief, Denzelle Good and Patrick Robinson did not play against the Chargers.
On paper, the Jaguars’ offense should have an easier time against the Colts’ defense than the Colts’ offense facing the Jaguars’ defense.
The Jaguars have really good receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Both players should be able to take advantage of the Colts’ banged-up secondary. Also, tight end Julius Thomas could be a key factor for them.
Indianapolis must deal with Jacksonville’s defense, which is currently the 7th best pass defense in passing yards allowed. With Moncrief out, the Jaguars will focus their coverage towards T.Y. Hilton.
Hilton just had eight catches for 174 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Chargers. He will need to work extra hard to get open if he wants to have a similar impact in Week 4.
Another factor to this game is getting acclimated to playing in London. There is a five-hour difference from the U.S. East Coast to London. The team that handles the new environment better has the best chance of winning.
Overall, the Jaguars have a slight advantage over the Colts in every area except at quarterback. Luck is 5-1 against the Jaguars in his career, and he will probably pick up his sixth win over them Sunday.
Prediction: Colts 30, Jaguars 24