JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2020 season, Jaguars experts will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: Everything goes their way. That hasn't happened since the second half of the first game of the season. Can it happen Sunday in Indianapolis? Maybe. But good teams make good things happen and bad teams hope good things happen. We're hoping here ...
The Colts will win if: They win the lines of scrimmage. The Colts' offensive line is the best in football and the addition of tackle DeForest Buckner has made their defensive line nearly as good. If they can run the ball and stop the run as they have for most of 2020, they'll win Sunday.
As Sexton sees it: This one won't be close. The Colts wouldn't be in the position of needing to win and get help if they hadn't lost in Jacksonville in Week 1. They would already be AFC South Champs and possibly resting players for a Wild Card playoff game. Instead, they must overcome one of their biggest mistakes of the season and need at least one of four teams – Cleveland, Tennessee, Miami or Baltimore – to lose to make the postseason. They're motivated, which should be enough to win.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They get better quarterback play than they have gotten in pretty much every game this season, and get their best defensive performance since a Week 1 victory over the Colts. The Colts' running game is very consistent; the Jaguars haven't fared well against teams with consistent running games in far too long.
The Colts will win if: They have fewer than two turnovers. The Colts will be motivated, and they have far better personnel than the Jaguars. If the Colts run effectively – and there's no reason to believe they won't – they'll move to 11-5 for the season.
As Oehser sees it: The Colts should win this game. It's not that the Jaguars won't put forth effort. They have done so all season and will do so again Sunday. But the Colts need the game and match up well against a depleted, undermanned Jaguars team. That's almost always enough in December and early January.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They score on defense or special teams to help their offense. The Jags have been struggling to find a rhythm and any outside boost is needed. The Jaguars' defense will have to force a turnover or two to help as well.
The Colts will win if: Running back Jonathan Taylor is able to keep the pressure off quarterback Philip Rivers. Taylor has been a force over the last month and is eyeing 1,000 yards rushing for the season and will be ready to go. The Colts have a top ten defense, and they need to play as such.
As Lageman sees it: The Colts will be ready to go with a playoff berth on the line. Their offense in the first matchup in Week One went through Rivers but now goes through their offensive line and Taylor. Rivers will not be careless with the ball this time around and will make it tough on the Jaguars to gain any footing.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They make a special teams impact play and win the turnover margin by two or more. The Jaguars need a couple of those kind of things to happen to win right now. This roster is much different than the one that beat Indianapolis four months ago.
The Colts will win if: They effectively run. Rivers is still prone to making a silly throw or two, but if Taylor continues his late season surge, the Colts shouldn't have a problem with the Jaguars.
As Martineau sees it: It will go down as the worst season in Jaguars history at 1-15. I'm not sure anything can buck the recent trend. The Jags haven't even been in games the last three weeks by the fourth quarter and I would expect something similar Sunday. The Colts will win with the playoffs on the line, 38-13.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They win at the line of scrimmage. The Colts have one of the best, if not the best, offensive line in the NFL – even without starting left tackle Anthony Castanzo. The Jaguars' defensive line has had a ton of turnover this season and is considered a weak spot on the team. Regardless, the defensive line needs to show up on Sunday and pressure Rivers to be in this game. It all starts up front this week.
The Colts will win if: They shut down the Jaguars' running game. Jaguars running back Dare Ogunbowale is coming off an impressive first start with over 70 yards rushing. The timing for the receivers and quarterback Mike Glennon has not been consistent; the only thing the Jaguars can hang their hat on offensively is the run game. If the Colts shut that down, I don't know how effective the Jags will be on offense.
As Sullivan sees it: It would be awesome to sweep the Colts and end the season on a high note for Head Coach Doug Marrone. However, I don't see it happening with the Colts needing to win to make it into the playoffs. I do expect this team to play hard for one another and their coaches as some kind of change is the only thing guaranteed in the offseason. This is the last time this team will play together and I expect them to make the most out of it.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They can ignore the distractions of so much off-field conversation and play like a team with nothing to lose. There is no discussion this week about the first draft pick or anything draft-related. Whatever happens regarding to changes being made, or not being made, can wait. Right now, the Jaguars must just play and try to end on a good note — bookend victories over and a sweep of the Colts. And really harass Rivers.
The Colts will win if: They protect Rivers, get their ground game going and wear down what appears to be a tired Jags team. Jacksonville has fought hard, but the rigors of a long, tough season seem to have worn on a game – but really young – team.
As Frangie sees it: The Colts really need this one, are at home, and still are smarting from losing the opener in Jacksonville. This one will be tough for the Jaguars, but they tend to play well against the Colts and have played hard all year. This is an interesting final matchup.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They steal multiple possessions and score in a non-traditional way. The Colts have one of the NFL's best defenses, making points a premium for the Jags this week. For the Jaguars to pull off the upset, and sweep the Colts, they must dominate in the turnover battle.
The Colts will win if: Rivers is smart with the ball and doesn't throw it to the Jaguars. The Colts never punted in the first matchup, but costly Rivers interceptions cost them the game. Defensively, Colts should stack the box to stop the run and force Glennon to beat them through the air.
As Boselli sees it: This is another tough matchup for the Jaguars, facing a Colts team that must win to make the playoffs. All the pressure is on the Colts and I expect the Jags to come out freewheeling, playing loose. It's a great opportunity for the Jaguars to end the longest losing streak in franchise history by sending a division rival home for the new year; 2021 is going to be a great year for the Jags and they start it off with a huge upset: Jaguars 24, Colts 20.
J.P. Shadrick, jagaurs.com senior reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They score like they haven't scored all seasons - offense, defense, special teams. They need some takeaways and have to cash in those extra possessions with points.
The Colts will win if: They manage the game and continue to run the football effectively. This Jaguars defense is long-since depleted, but they might have a half of solid football in them. But as we saw last week, they ran out of gas early in the second half and the Bears pulled away.
As Shadrick sees it: Strange things can happen in Week 17 as teams jockey for playoff positioning or a berth. The Colts need this one and they need help, and the Jaguars are in many ways looking ahead to the offseason and 2021. That's a bad combination for the Jaguars this week.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars Radio Network sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They get more deep balls from quarterback Mike Glennon. This is most likely the last game for the Jaguars coaching staff, so there's no reason to be conservative. Glennon to rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. worked last week and must be effective if Jacksonville is going to pull off the upset.
The Jaguars will win if: They get it done offensively both on the ground and in the air. Rivers should be able to expose a beat-up Jaguars secondary and give the Colts their 11th victory of the season.
As Ballou sees it: Indianapolis needs this victory and has to hope that Tennessee, Miami, Cleveland or Baltimore loses so they can make the playoffs. Jacksonville would like nothing more than to get bookend victories against the Colts and snap a 14-game losing streak. Unfortunately, that won't happen.