Indianapolis Colts (10-4) -6, 44 O/U at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)
Jacksonville Stadium, Jacksonville, F.L., 8:15PM Eastern, Thursday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The Indianapolis Colts held off a valiant effort from the winless Detroit Lions last week to improve their record to 10-4. The Colts now have a great shot to earn an AFC wildcard playoff spot and all they need is one more win. Jacksonville will be one of the two teams left standing in their way. The Jags got a victory over the Packers in a close game last week and they hope to play spoiler from here on out in terms of the playoffs. Jacksonville last two opponents will be Indianapolis and Baltimore and a victory could definitely ruin either one of those teams playoff hopes.
The Colts have been red hot and playing as well as any team in the League. Indianapolis has won 7 straight games dating their last loss back in the last week of October. The Colts handled the Jaguars early this year in a very close game 23-21 and they will look to do the same this week in a big game. In the Colts 7 game winning streak, the Indianapolis defense has been stout holding teams to only 16 points per game. If you have not really paid attention to Indianapolis over the last few weeks, then you might think Peyton Manning on the offense is rolling again. While Manning and the offense are playing well, the real reason for the Colts success has come from the play of the defense. Indianapolis scoring defense ranks 9th in the NFL holding teams to 19 points per game and that same defense is only allowing slightly over 300 yards per game of total offense. The defense will continue to be key down the stretch as the Colts battle for a playoff spot.
Jacksonville has been a prime example of mediocrities finest this season. The Jaguars rank right in the middle of the NFL on both sides of the ball and they are in desperate search to find that edge that will make start winning more games. In 6 of Jacksonvilles 9 losses this season, they have been defeated by 10 points or less. The Jaguars just need to find that little extra to get them over the hump. While many may feel that the Jaguars do not have a lot to play for to end the year, it is quite the opposite. The Jaguars went 11-5 last season and made it to the 2nd round in the division playoffs were they lost to the New England Patriots. The Jaguars would love to prove that they still have the talent of last years team and close out the season on good terms.
Bookies opened the betting line favoring the Indianapolis Colts by 6 points and many lines are moving it to 7 points. The over/under for the contest has been posted at 44 points while both teams have been favoring under totals in the recent weeks heading into the ball game.
Peyton Manning is having another Peyton year completing 65% of his passes on the season. Manning ranks 4th in the NFL in passing yards racking up 3,543 yards this season with a legitimate shot to eclipse the 4,000 yard barrier by seasons end. Peyton has thrown 23 touchdowns this season along with 12 interceptions. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has caught a 1,000 reception yards for the 5th straight year of his career. Wayne has 1,022 yards on the season and 5 touchdowns. Peyton and the Colts will go to work again this weekend in attempt to capture a much needed victory and solidify their place in the AFC wildcard spot.
Jacksonville running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor have shared carries in the backfield this season. Both backs have had limited success in term of rushing yards, but Jones-Drew has accounted for 12 touchdowns on the ground this season. David Garrard has been he man behind center for the Jaguars this season and he has played fairly well. Garrard has completed 62.5% of his passes for 3,164 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. WR Matt Jones has been the go to guy for the Jags offense through the air. Jones 65 catches on the season leads the team and he has put together 761 reception yards with 2 touchdowns. The Jags will need all their key players to step up big this weekend to knockoff the Colts.
Indianapolis is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games and 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games. The Colts have reached the under total in 3 of their last 5 games. Indianapolis is also 14-3 SU while on the road. Jacksonville is 1-4 ATS and is 1-6 ATS at home. The Jags have been on the under total in 4 of their last 5 games.
Jays Pick I believe this game could really go low on scoring. The 44 points play a good cushion in this game. Take the under 44.