Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, September 21, 2008, 4:15 p.m.
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Records: Jacksonville 0-2, Indianapolis 1-1
Series history: Indianapolis leads 11-3. Last season: Indianapolis won both meetings, 29-7 in Jacksonville, and 28-25 in Indianapolis.
Five most important things for the Jaguars:
1. Play with a sense of urgency. Although several players have spoken this week and claimed the team is a few plays from being 2-0, the reality is that they're 0-2. The list of teams that have begun the season 0-3 and have made the playoffs is a very short one. Realistically, the season is on the line in Indianapolis this Sunday.
2. Stay composed. Indianapolis is a team that has a squeaky clean reputation, but anyone who knows them knows they like to hit low, hit late, and bait their opponents to retaliate. The Jaguars are the type of team that likes to retaliate and they have been the ones getting stupid, drive-killing penalties in this series.
3. Get pressure on Manning. If the Jaguars can't pressure Peyton Manning with his left tackle Tony Ugoh likely to be out, and a less than 100% Jeff Saturday, I'm not sure when or if they ever will. Peyton Manning is a different quarterback when he gets pressured, especially up the middle. If they can give Peyton some happy feet, the timing of the Indianapolis offense will be off.
4. Use your weapons. Teams don't win in the NFL by tricking their opponents, they win by out-executing them. Simply put, the Jaguars need to utilize their best weapons, which are Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, and Marcedes Lewis, even if the Colts know it's coming.
5. Stop Joesph Addai. The Colts explosive passing game has received much of the credit over the last several years for the Colts success, but a lot of it is predicated upon great play-action. If you can take away Addai, who is off to a terrible start, the Colts quickly become a one-dimensional team.
What to look for:
1. Look for the Jaguars to make a big play on special teams. If Jacksonville is going to pull the upset, they have to utilize their special teams advantage. The Jags have great, explosive return men and the Colts coverage units have been suspect over the past few seasons.
2. Look for a lot of no-huddle. The Colts love to get teams in base defenses and then go no-huddle to exploit matchups and wear out pass rushers. The Jaguars may find similar success with the same strategy.
3. Draw plays a plenty. Indianapolis' defensive ends love to rush the passer and get upfield. The Jaguars have found success with draw plays to Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Without Bob Sanders in the lineup, the Colts 28th ranked run defense will be weaker.
4. Look for at least 5 combined sacks. The Colts can get after the passer, and David Garrard has been known to take sacks. With Indy's offensive line, the Jaguars should be able to get to Manning at least a few times.
5. Look for a touchdown not by the offense. With the quickness of the Jaguars special teams units, and the Colts top-five pass defense, someone could take something back all the way.
Meaningless game prediction: A lot of matchups tilt in the Jaguars favor in this game, as the heart and soul of the Colts defense, Bob Sanders will be out, and their offensive line will be banged up. If Jacksonville loses this one, the bad feelings will snowball and they'll be competing for the top pick in the draft more than a Super Bowl. Out of desperation, Jacksonville will play some inspired ball.
Final score: Jaguars 24, Colts 20.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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