Sunday, December 2nd, 2007
Kickoff Temperature: Dome
Line: Colts by 6.5
Records: Jacksonville 8-3, second place in the AFC South, Indianapolis 9-2, first place in the AFC
Series Notes: 14th meeting. The Colts have a 10-3 lead. The teams first played in 1995 when the Colts won 41-31 in the Jaguars' first series. The Colts beat them again in 2000, 43-13, and they've played twice a year since 2002 when they've been in the same division. The Colts have an 8-3 lead in the games when they've been in the same division. The Colts won the first game on Oct. 22 by a 29-7 margin as Peyton Manning passed for 259 yards and Joseph Addai added 85 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Five most important things for the Jaguars:
1. Score early. The Jaguars are 8-1 when they draw first blood. If they fall behind in this game, Jacksonville will be forced to make yardage with their 23rd ranked passing game which they obviously don't want to do. Staying close or ahead early on is an absolute must.
2. Take what you want. The Colts are a very good team and have been for quite a while, but for the first time (this late in the season) since Jacksonville and Indy were in the same division, the Jaguars have an opportunity to pull into a first place tie. The Jaguars need to control the line of scrimmage and be the more physical team. That wasn't the case the last time these two teams got together.
3. Make Peyton Manning move his feet. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback that anyone has ever seen when his jersey stays completely clean and he is standing upright. The Jaguars need to make Manning move around and get some pressure on him with their front four. If not, he'll pick them apart.
4. Keep Addai under 70 yards rushing. The Colts are 6-1 when Joseph Addai runs for 70 yards or better. If Addai is running well, Indianapolis is controlling the clock, and that's never a good thing for an opposing defense.
5. Make some plays. The only way to beat Indianapolis, especially at their house is to make plays. Someone on the Jaguars roster has to have a big special teams return, make a diving catch or two, make a diving interception, or block a kick. You have to make extraordinary plays to defeat the defending Super Bowl champs.
1. Look for the Jaguars to come out firing. I expect to see Indianapolis load up the line of scrimmage and force the Jaguars to throw the football. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will recognize this and throw the football early. This seemed to be the game plan when these two teams met in October before Garrard was injured.
2. Look for the Colts to attack the middle of the field. Indianapolis had great success attacking the middle of the field against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, especially on third down. Until the Jaguars prove they can stop it, the Colts will continue exploiting the middle.
3. Look for David Garrard's first interception. Garrard has been fantastic this season at avoiding costly mistakes. With Indy's ball-hawking defense, it is only a matter of time before a pass gets deflected and then picked off.
4. MJD for 6. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has had some big games against Indy in his brief career. Look for that trend to continue.
5. Peyton Manning will score a touchdown on the ground. Manning is becoming very adept at the quarterback sneak from inside the two, and he's snuck in touchdowns against the Jaguars in their last three meetings. Look for that streak to be extended.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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