JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2021 season, Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They move the ball in the air. The Colts have 20 takeaways but also lead the NFL in touchdown passes allowed. Lawrence will have to have a big day and not turn the ball over.
The Colts will win if: They stay balanced on offense. Indianapolis has scored at least 30 points in each of its last four games and 25 or more in the last six. Wentz has had a great first half and Taylor is one of the best backs in the league.
As Ballou sees it: Jacksonville has some momentum after a huge upset win over Buffalo. Playing in Indianapolis has been a struggle as of late as the Jaguars have lost seven of their last eight there. The Colts have it going right now on offense and will be too much for the Jaguars to handle.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They get a similar but different defensive effort against the Colts as against Buffalo. The focus must be on stopping the run, and forcing Wentz into long down-and-distance situations. This won't be easy; the Colts have a good offensive line and one of the best backs in the NFL in Taylor. Offensively, the Jaguars must play another clean game, low penalties and no turnovers, and get a handful of big plays.
The Colts will win if: They have the balance they showed last Thursday night against the Jets. Their offense is set up with strong running attack that sets up good down-and-distance situations for Wentz. When they get Taylor going, they are dangerous. If the Colts control the line of scrimmage early, they should cruise to a victory.
As Boselli sees it: This is a chance for the Jaguars to stack wins. They should have a ton of confidence coming out of the win over the Bills. The Jaguars' defense's strength is stopping the run, and it will face its toughest test of the season against the strong running attack of the Colts. I believe they will be up to the task and will force the Colts to beat them through the air. I think this is the week we finally see some big plays out of the offense, with Lawrence having his best game of the season. The Jaguars finally will win a second consecutive game, 21-17.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They create the same pressure on Colts quarterback Carson Wentz they used to harass Allen. Various blitzes, coming from every direction, keyed the Jaguars' outstanding defensive performance. You must stop Taylor, but the Jaguars have been pretty good against the run. Robinson needs to have a good game in his return.
The Colts will win if: They handle the Jaguars' blitz and get Taylor going on offense. They also will want to take away Robinson and make the Jaguars one-dimensional. The Jags must have offensive balance.
As Frangie sees it: The Jaguars have gained confidence. A win here would be three wins in the last four games and breathe legitimate life into this team. I expect it to be close, much closer than some expect. The Jaguars must make it a fourth-quarter game and see what happens.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They continue to play great defense. Coordinator Joe Cullen's unit played outstanding last week; now, the challenge will be consistency. Indianapolis is one of the NFL's better running teams and has arguably the league's best guard-center-guard combinations. The Jaguars' defensive tackles must have a great day.
The Colts will win if: They win the turnover battle. Indianapolis is second in the NFL in turnover differential and has a league-high 20 takeaways. Leonard, a master at punching the ball out causing fumbles, and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner captain a tough and physical defense.
As Lageman sees it: This is a great test to see how the Jaguars respond after the victory over the Bills. The last time they played after a win, things didn't go well in Seattle. The Jaguars' offense improves after 16 points in the last two games. Lawrence must play better against a Colts defense that is very simplistic.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They score 27 points or more and keep Taylor around 100 yards or less. The Colts have scored in bunches lately and the Jaguars have not scored much the last couple of weeks. Last week was a defensive game for the Jaguars; this week, the offense must shine.
The Colts will win if: They win the turnover battle. The Jaguars pulled the upset Sunday because of turnovers. If the Colts take care of the ball, they likely can run effectively. Keep an eye on the Colts' defense, which is the best in the league at forcing turnovers.
As Martineau sees it: This must be the game Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence steps up big with a huge performance. The Jaguars' season-high in points is 23 through eight games, which isn't good enough. This will be an entertaining game, but the Jaguars will fall 27-24.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They slow the Colts' running game, a decidedly different challenge than attacking Bills quarterback Josh Allen last week. The Jaguars also must make plays downfield in the passing game, which would revitalize an offense that has scored 16 points in two games.
The Colts will win if: They run effectively and win the takeaway margin. The Colts are best when they're dominating opponents at the line of scrimmage, enabling Taylor to break long runs. The Colts' defense has been among the best in the NFL forcing turnovers and the Jaguars have struggled in that area until last Sunday.
As Oehser sees it: This may be an equally difficult matchup for the Jaguars as last week against the Bills. The challenge for the Jaguars is offensively. They have scored seven and nine points in the last two games. It's hard to win in the NFL when you can't score meaningful touchdowns.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They score 25 points. The Colts have allowed an average of 24 points in five losses, so the Jaguars must score their season-high points a week after they couldn't find the end zone against Buffalo. This Colts' defense isn't playing at as high a level as the Bills, but they're super talented and the Jaguars are limited thanks to injuries to players who were supposed to provide big plays in 2021. Jaguars running back James Robinson's return would help, but this week still will require creativity from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to get the Jaguars into the end zone.
The Colts will win if: Running back Jonathan Taylor runs wild. With Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry on injured reserve, Taylor is the NFL's best running back. He ran for 172 yards last week against the Jets and is averaging a staggering 5.9 yards a carry. The Jaguars' run defense is much better than when they last saw Taylor in Week 17 of last season; they're giving up 3.8 yards per carry and only Henry has rushed for more than 100 yards against them this season. Taylor is for real, and the Jaguars must stop him if they want to win on consecutive Sundays for the first time since 2019.
As Sexton sees it: The Colts won't be caught napping this week. The Jaguars put them on notice with their dominant defensive performance against the Bills, so Indianapolis will be primed and ready at home. The Colts think they can get back in the division race with Henry sidelined in Nashville and won't want to miss a chance to beat a rookie quarterback at home. The Jaguars proved "any given Sunday" against the Bills, but it's hard to see that working well in Indianapolis for a team that has scored one touchdown in the last two games.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They force the Colts into predictable down-and-distance situations. If Taylor is effective on first and second down, this could be a long day for the Jaguars' defense. As the Jaguars did last week, a couple takeaways wouldn't hurt – especially deep in Colts territory to give the Jaguars' offense a shorter path to the end zone. Oh, and the Jaguars must make plays and score touchdowns on offense – do not waste opportunities.
The Colts will win if: Linebacker Darius Leonard has one of his "days" and the Colts' defense gets a couple of takeaways. Leonard is tied for fourth in the NFL in takeaways this season with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, and his four forced fumbles are tied for second in the league. This Colts defense punches and rips at the football at every opportunity and is partly why they lead the league with 20 takeaways (10 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries).
As Shadrick sees it: As Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks said this week on "Huddle Up" on Jaguars.com, this is a huge game for Head Coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars' culture and organization. If they get back-to-back wins against contending AFC teams, it further solidifies the process and messaging Meyer and the staff continue to instill each week. This team is building confidence. Carrying it on the road in the division against a talented opponent is the next step. Go wreck the Colts' confidence in their house, then who knows what this Jaguars team could do in the final two months.
Ashlyn Sullivan, team reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They do not only focus on stopping the run. Taylor needs a lot of attention on him, but the Colts also have explosive receivers T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman. The Jaguars cannot just stack the box, or they will get beat on explosive plays. They must have a balanced defensive effort to beat a Colts team averaging 27 points per game.
The Colts will win if: They take away Robinson, who is expected to play with a bruised heel. If the Colts limit Robinson's production, I worry the Jaguars offense will not score enough points to win. The Jaguars offense must run to set up the pass, which will depend on Robinson and backup running back Carlos Hyde. The offense must force the Colts to loosen their secondary and utilize tight end Dan Arnold, who has become a reliable target for Lawrence.
As Sullivan sees it: I see this game being very close, maybe decided by a field goal. This is predicted to be a much closer game based on the Jaguars' defense against the Bills. My hesitation is that the Jaguars' offense – after scoring nine points last week – will not produce enough against this Colts team. The Jaguars must produce more in the red zone. Until they do, I can't predict them to beat a team like the Colts that needs a win badly to stay in the playoff picture.