JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2017 season, eight Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if:They dominate on defense once again. Jacksonville had 10 sacks in its 27-0 victory over Indianapolis in October. The Colts' offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL and the Jaguars should have a field day once again.
The Colts will win if: They can stop the Jags from running. Jacksonville backs were held to 29 yards rushing on 16 carries last week in Arizona. The Colts will try to do the same.
As Ballou sees it:Jaguars, 24-10. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had one of his best games of the season against the Colts in October, throwing for 330 yards with a passer rating of 124.7.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if:They make big plays. The Jaguars offensively are in a funk and are struggling to score points: only six offensive touchdowns in the last five games. While they still need to be a run-first team, they need to open it up a little – especially to soften up the defense. If they can get the big plays they did in the first Colts matchup, they should win going away.
The Colts will win if:They can keep the Jaguars' offense stagnant and make it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter. If they can do that, they can play for the one big play or a critical turnover by the Jaguars' offense and steal a game the Jags should win.
As Boselli sees it:The Jaguars need to come out aggressively and jump on the Colts early. Remind them how the first game went and it will be over in the first half. The problem: I am not convinced the Jaguars are playing at a level right now offensively to do that. I think it is closer than anyone wants, but the Jags' defense makes a big play in the fourth quarter and the Jaguars win, 17-7.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if:They don't have any breakdowns defensively or on special teams allowing fluke plays. I just don't think the Colts can drive on them at all. This should be the seventh game in which the Jags hold the other team under 10 points. The Jags need to get offense going, but won't need a lot of points.
The Colts will win if: They get some help. They will need Jacksonville to turn it over in its own territory more than once. The Colts would have to really take advantage of that. It's about the only way I can see an Indianapolis victory.
As Frangie sees it:This should be a comfortable victory for the Jags.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if:They can find explosive plays in their passing game as they did in the teams' first meeting. The Jags had a season-high six explosive plays in that game and also scored on their first four possessions, putting a lot of pressure on a young quarterback – Jacoby Brissett – leading the Colts' offense. The Colts will be without three of their four starting defensive backs from the last meeting, making these plays possible.
The Colts will win if:If they have improved offensive line play. They have allowed Brissett to be sacked an NFL-high 43 times and running back Frank Gore has yet to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game this season. They have had some injuries of late on their offensive line, making this a tall task.
As Lageman sees it:The Jaguars will find it tough going running the football against the Colts early in the game, but big plays will happen for a receiving corps looking to bounce back from missed opportunities last week in Arizona. Sacksonville will be smothering for Brissett and the Jaguars run game will flourish later in the game to put this one away.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if:They play focused football. Little went right for the Jags last week and they still almost won. The Jags are a lot better than Indy, but you don't just show up and win in the NFL. The Jags need to play good, focused football with a lot of energy to assure a good start to a critical December.
The Colts will win if: They shut down the Jags' offense. This is the formula other teams have used this season to beat the Jags. Sure, you can beat the defense on a breakdown or two, but it's hard to count on that. Indy needs to dominate the Jags' offense to the tune of turnovers and short fields if they want to win at EverBank.
As Martineau sees it:The Jags will win this game because they are clearly the better team. It's hard to find an edge for the Colts in this matchup. The Jags might not dominate like they did a month ago in Indy, but they should be able to win with relative ease.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if:The defense has five sacks and creates 10 points. Five sacks is a tall order, but the Colts allowed eight last week to Tennessee and 10 to the Jaguars in October. The Colts' defense has played well and kept games tight in recent weeks. If Jaguars' defense plays with its normal havoc-creating style, that should make the difference.
The Colts will win if:They can force the Jaguars' offense into early mistakes. Bortles and the Jaguars' offense had one of their better games of the season in Indianapolis last month. If they generate a touchdown or two in the first half, they can pull away. If not, this one figures to be close late.
As Oehser sees it:The Jaguars should win, but don't expect a repeat of October. The Colts have played Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Tennessee close in the last month and they beat Houston in the same span. It's difficult to beat a team in one-sided fashion twice in the same season. This one should be tight.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if:They move the ball through the air. It sounds simple but when you're talking about wide receiver Marqise Lee and a group of young and inexperienced extras, it has been tough. Bortles is throwing to Dede Westbrook – who will play in his third NFL game on Sunday – and Keelan Cole, who was lining up against Alfred State at this time last year. No Allen Robinson and no Allen Hurns has made it easier for teams to stack the box and focus on running back Leonard Fournette. The Jags have to find a way to throw the football and this week against a banged up Colts secondary should be the perfect chance to work on it.
The Colts will win if:The Colts won't win.
As Sexton sees it:This team's loss in Arizona will have an important side benefit. No matter what you heard last week, this team was basking in the glow of a four-game winning streak and lots of love from the national media. Where's that now? See how quickly those power rankings drop? Who cares about that nonsense! They're neck and neck with Tennessee and though they would appear to be poised to do no worse than a Wild Card, it's important to note that the Chargers are coming on strong late in the season, as are the Ravens; things are going to tighten up over the final month of the season. It doesn't have to get tight if the Jaguars win the games they're supposed to win. This is one of those.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if:They score two offensive touchdowns. The defense shut out the Colts in Week 7, a game in which the Jaguars recorded 10 sacks. Expect more of the same on that side of the ball, so if the Jaguars' offense can get jumpstarted, it should be all good.
The Colts will win if: The Jaguars turn the ball over on offense three times. Lack of production on the offensive side is one thing, but if you give the Colts short fields to go along with it, that would not help the defense at all.
As Shadrick sees it:This is a game the Jaguars should win. It is the start of a three-game home stand and it should start December in a positive way.