JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser offers 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday
1.Protect the ball.This is No. 1 and will be until it's not.
2.Protect the ball. It's No. 2, too. Why? Twenty-two turnovers in 10 games, that's why. That's the Jaguars' total this season, and turnovers inside the opponent's 35 have particularly hurt. No team can win turning the ball over so much, especially not a young team that doesn't have as much mature, veteran talent as its opponents.
3.Protect Blake Bortles.It's hard for rookie quarterbacks to protect the ball if they're not getting protected. The offensive line hasn't done poorly here, but it can do better.
4.Grow up fast.The Jaguars are young. That's not going to change this season. What can change is how that youth plays. It may not be fair to ask the kids on offense to play beyond their years, but playing beyond their years will be what it takes to win Sunday.
5.Get Marqise Lee involved.The rookie may be the Jaguars' most talented receiver. He hasn't played like it yet, but there have been signs of life in recent weeks. He has practiced consistently well since before London. At some point, his talent will turn into production. Having that happen this week would help the cause significantly.
6.Get Marcedes Lewis involved.What do you do when your former Pro Bowl tight end returns after eight weeks? You run behind him and get him involved in the passing offense.
7. Run, Denard, run.The Patriots ran and ran and ran on the Colts last week. A weakness one week doesn't always translate to the following week in the NFL, but Denard Robinson has been the Jaguars' most reliable offensive weapon for the last month. Keep relying on him.
8.Sack Andrew Luck. He's mobile, he's dangerous and he may be the NFL's best young quarterback. That's the bad news for the Jaguars facing Andrew Luck. The good news is that until a Week 10 loss to Dallas the Jaguars' defensive front had good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Colts' offensive line is good, but it's not on the level of Dallas. That doesn't guarantee game-changing pressure, but it's what the Jaguars need.
9.Stay tight on special teams.Too often this season special teams has been a liability – as in, a major liability. Tipped punts. Blocked punts. Blocked field goals. Fumbled punts. As young as the Jaguars are, you'd love to see the special teams be a strength, but they sure can't win with those types of errors.
10.Get a takeaway or two.It hasn't happened enough this season, but when it has happened, this team has been competitive against any level of competition. This Colts team is not unbeatable. They're beat up and allowing yards defensively. But the Jaguars probably can't win if everything's even. Make things uneven. Make some big plays. Get a touchdown defensively. Force turnovers. Change the playing field in your favor. Turnovers can change games, and getting a few would be huge for the Jaguars Sunday.