After a strong showing against the Seahawks last weekend, Jacksonville heads into Indianapolis, somewhat incredibly, as a 9-point underdog. While the Colts had an equally impressive game against the Ravens, a 9-point edge seems a bit heavy considering the Jaguars are coming to town with a defense that challenged the Colts last year, and their new "vertical offense" that will be more aggressive than what the Colts saw last year.
Winners of two of the last three games, the Jaguars know how to keep the contests close when they match up against Indianapolis. And even though the Colts hold a 4-2 edge over the past three seasons, they haven't beat Jacksonville by more than ten points during that stretch. Last year the Jaguars won the contest in Indy by a 3-point margin.
The Jaguars enter Sunday's game in much better shape when you compare the injury lists of the two teams. CB Rashean Mathis is the only impact player who is hobbled, and he's listed as probable even though he missed some practice time on Thursday. Special teams player Cortez Hankton is sidelined for Jacksonville, but he's the only one likely to miss the game. RB Derrick Wimbush (hamstring) returned to practice and is expected to be ready.
By contrast, the Colts will be missing starting safety Joe Jefferson (toe) who will be replaced by last year's starter, Mike Doss. Starting right defensive tackle Montae Reagor is expected to only see part-time action as he's recovering from a groin injury. Tight end Dallas Clark appears to be ready for Sunday, but he's coming off a concussion and missed last week's contest against the Ravens. The Colts also lost nickel back Donald Strickland for the season with a hamstring injury. Their top draft pick, Marlin Jackson, is expected to see his first regular season action in Strickland's spot.
A key matchup to watch will be Mathis versus Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Mathis turned in a strong performance last weekend against the Seahawks, but he'll need to be fully recovered from his groin injury as he can't afford to be missing a step or a bit of his agility against a receiver of Harrison's caliber.
Where's the Respect? Jags 9-Point Underdogs
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