Jaguars vs. Colts: 3 keys to Jacksonville victory

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Jacksonville Jaguars’ and Indianapolis Colts’ rivalry was an interesting series in 2019. Both sides won a game apiece, but both wins looked remarkably comfortable. Nick Foles fell 33-13 to Indianapolis in one of his four starts in Jacksonville. Whilst in Week 17 Gardner Minshew II torched the Colts for three touchdowns in a 38-20 victory.” data-reactid=”13″>The Jacksonville Jaguars’ and Indianapolis Colts’ rivalry was an interesting series in 2019. Both sides won a game apiece, but both wins looked remarkably comfortable. Nick Foles fell 33-13 to Indianapolis in one of his four starts in Jacksonville. Whilst in Week 17 Gardner Minshew II torched the Colts for three touchdowns in a 38-20 victory.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With the teams playing in the series opener, it is difficult to predict which way the game is going to go. Each team goes into the 2020 season looking different from the last time they took the field. The Colts have a new starting quarterback in Philip Rivers and former Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner, whilst the Jaguars team feels as though it’s made of entirely fresh faces having moved on from several starters throughout the offseason.” data-reactid=”14″>With the teams playing in the series opener, it is difficult to predict which way the game is going to go. Each team goes into the 2020 season looking different from the last time they took the field. The Colts have a new starting quarterback in Philip Rivers and former Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner, whilst the Jaguars team feels as though it’s made of entirely fresh faces having moved on from several starters throughout the offseason.

Starting the season, Jacksonville seems to be everyone’s favorites to pick first-overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, so a Week 1 victory could make many analysts second guess their season predictions. With Doug Marrone coaching for his job in 2020 and Dave Caldwell very much on the hot-seat, here are three things the Jaguars must do if they are to start the season with a victory.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In their defeat against Indianapolis last season, the Jaguars defense let two Colts go for over 100 yards on the ground. Yes, two. In fact over both games last season, Marlon Mack averaged 6.4 yards per carry, for a total of 186 yards and three touchdowns. That’s laughable.” data-reactid=”21″>In their defeat against Indianapolis last season, the Jaguars defense let two Colts go for over 100 yards on the ground. Yes, two. In fact over both games last season, Marlon Mack averaged 6.4 yards per carry, for a total of 186 yards and three touchdowns. That’s laughable.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="It’s no secret that the Jaguars’ defensive line has been decimated by outgoings, injuries, and opt-outs, but this team simply has to defend the run better if it is going to win games this year. A key to this could be the performance of Taven Bryan, who had a solid game against Indy last December.” data-reactid=”22″>It’s no secret that the Jaguars’ defensive line has been decimated by outgoings, injuries, and opt-outs, but this team simply has to defend the run better if it is going to win games this year. A key to this could be the performance of Taven Bryan, who had a solid game against Indy last December.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With the addition of Jonathan Taylor to the Colts’ backfield, defensive coordinator Todd Wash is going to have to do everything he can to shut down their ground game. Simply put, it might be significantly harder for the Colts to win this game if their offense has to run through a 38-year-old Philip Rivers, who many would argue is coming off the worst season of his career.” data-reactid=”23″>With the addition of Jonathan Taylor to the Colts’ backfield, defensive coordinator Todd Wash is going to have to do everything he can to shut down their ground game. Simply put, it might be significantly harder for the Colts to win this game if their offense has to run through a 38-year-old Philip Rivers, who many would argue is coming off the worst season of his career.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Last year interceptions weren’t a major concern for Minshew. In fact, many fans pointed to his lack of picks as a reason he should have been considered for 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year. By comparison, Minshew’s six picks were half the amount registered by&nbsp;Kyler Murray, who won the award.” data-reactid=”25″>Last year interceptions weren’t a major concern for Minshew. In fact, many fans pointed to his lack of picks as a reason he should have been considered for 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year. By comparison, Minshew’s six picks were half the amount registered by Kyler Murray, who won the award.

Whilst interceptions aren’t a noted issue for Minshew, fumbles certainly are. The former Washington State signal-caller dropped the ball 13 times last year, seven of which were recovered by the other team. That kind of carelessness is a surefire way to hamper a team’s chances of winning.

More often than not, a quarterback fumbling will put his team in a worse position than an interception would, as it’s much further up-field. So to win this game, Minshew must keep the ball out of the opposition’s hands, and more importantly, off the floor.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The lack of discipline by the Jags was on display for all to see last year, as the team ended up second in the league in penalties. A staggering 8.25 flags per game.” data-reactid=”29″>The lack of discipline by the Jags was on display for all to see last year, as the team ended up second in the league in penalties. A staggering 8.25 flags per game.

If the team wants to be successful, it simply has to cut out the mental errors and silly mistakes that plagued the team in 2019. The lack of a preseason may lead to more penalties across the league as players fight to regain their sharpness and acclimatize to meaningful reps.

If the Jaguars are to win games this year,  they must stamp out these errors early. It’s hard enough to win games in the NFL as it is, let alone doing it with referees marching a squad back 73 yards on average every week.

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