The Colts thrashing by the Patriots last Sunday Night proved that the team still has a way to go before they live up to all the hype that has been thrown at them prior to the season’s start. The team is still in first place in the AFC South and will most likely win the division again, yet something doesn’t seem quite right with this team. The Texans have been tougher than expected which makes this a critical game for the Colts trajectory for the rest of the season. Luckily, the opponent on Sunday are none other than the “Glitter Kitties,” or more commonly known by their real moniker, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
However, the Colts should not take this team lightly. Although the Jaguars have been dominated by the Colts in the last few games and most of their existence, their team is looking to shock the world just as Oakland did to Kansas City this last Thursday. Jacksonville comes in to the game as a double digit underdog by Vegas (+14), but the Colts have many questions to answer for themselves after letting Jonas Gray run over them and the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw after sustaining a season ending injury. Dwayne Allen is also banged up and will miss the game along with starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus. The defense reeling after the complete domination by the Patriots will be without another starter, Greg Toler, which means next man up Josh Gordy most likely fills in. It easy to see why the Colts can not afford to look past the Jaguars.
So what can this team do to get back on course? For starters, not change a thing on offense except for moving on from the loss of Bradshaw. As much as a devastating blow that it was, I feel that Daniel “Boom” Herron may be just what this team needs to give the suddenly struggling run game a jump start. Don’t mistake me when I talk up Herron – he won’t shatter any records and probably won’t unseat Trent Richardson, but he provides a change of pace compared to the bruising style that both Bradshaw and Richardson display. Herron has a similar running style to former Colt, Donald Brown. He had his most successful season last year after learning how to hit the holes with his speed and Herron has the same opportunity to show coaching staff he can do similar things.
Look for Luck to rely heavily on tight end Coby Fleener, who was one of the few bright spots in the loss last week. Fleener should have no problem getting open against the Jaguars secondary as the only issue with Coby seems to be himself. The team also has Jack Doyle who has been slowly improving and the recently signed Weslye Saunders who is familiar to the team. Look for all of them to help out both the run game and the passing offense. No worries on the receiving corps as the Colts still are loaded with talent for Luck. One intriguing move after the Colts loss was the signing of return specialist Josh Cribbs, which led to today’s release of Griff Whalen, who just wasn’t athletic enough to be the game changer in the return game the team needed. Enter Josh Cribbs. The only question with him is how much is left in his tank.
The biggest question mark remaining involves the Colts defense, which looked horrible to put it mildly last week. I’ve been on the record saying that I don’t think much can be done to improve the defense at this point in the season, but they should be able to manhandle Jaguar’s rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. Arthur Jones makes his return to the lineup, but will it be enough to make the difference that many thought that he could provide? The defense got run over by the Patriots but expect the team to come out strong and show Coach Pagano that they are still buying into his style of coaching. So what does all of the mean? Look for the Colts to run away with this one, 35-14. Just the type of game this team needs to get their confidence back!