NFL Thursday Week 10: Look for the Colts to Continue Winning Against Jaguars
Season record straight up: 88-44 .667 (Last Week 12-2)
It's an AFC South battle in this week's Thursday night matchup on NFL Network.
Indianapolis (5-3) at Jacksonville (1-7) 8:20 p.m. ET
Initially, I was tempted to pick the Jaguars to win this game, but then when I dug deeper into the stats, I realized I will have a tough time picking this team to win any game the rest of the year. Their only win came against the Colts in Week 3 in Indianapolis.
The Colts were up 17-16 with less than a minute left when Blaine Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts on an 80-yard TD pass to win the game 22-17 (there was a failed two-point conversion to extend the lead to seven). The key stat from that game is that Maurice Jones-Drew ran the ball for 177 yards on 28 carries to lead the Jaguars to the victory.
Since then, some things have changed. Jones-Drew is not playing, and if you ask me, I think he'll be on another team next season. You can't replace MJD with Rashad Jennings and expect the same kind of production; he's just not as good.
The Colts are also playing a lot better having won three straight games and four of their last five. I can't say I remember that Jags/Colts game, but looking at it on paper you can see that the Jags used a ball-control offense and then a big play late to pull out the win..
The Colts' wins this year have all been in close games. Three of their victories have come by three points while two have come by six. I think a lot of credit has to be given to QB Andrew Luck, who does a tremendous job of keeping his poise in nail biters. He's accurate, patient in the pocket and moves around well to avoid the sack.
Winning four of five isn't just due to an easy schedule. They're playing better because Luck is building chemistry with his teammates. If the Jags don't double team Reggie Wayne, Luck will find him early and often. If they do key on Wayne, Luck will still find his other WRs.
To beat the Colts, the first thing you should do is run the ball. The Jags aren't good at that without MJD; Jennings is gaining just 3.1 yards per carry. That's nothing to get excited about, and the Colts will exploit that weakness throughout the game.
It's not like there's a home-field advantage for the Jags when their fans know their team is arguably the worst in the league (battle with the Chiefs for that honor) and have issues on both sides of the ball.
The spread is three points for the Colts and the over/under is 42.5 points. I don't know if I'll make a bet on it, but I'll go with the Colts and the over just because both defenses have a lot of question marks. I think the Jags will put up a fight, but it won't be enough.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. He also writes a lot about the NFL at TJRSports.com, so check him out there as well! You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport too.
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