Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9 SU, 2-7-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date and Time: Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAC +14/IND+14
Over/Under Total: 50.5
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On Sunday in an AFC South match-up, the Jacksonville Jaguars come into Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars are coming off a bye week, so they are at least well-rested. When thats the best thing you can say about a team, its not a good sign. At 1-9, the Jags have lost 3 straight after registering their only win of the season over the Browns. The Colts are 6-4, but have lost 2 out of 3, including a 42-20 loss to the red-hot Patriots on Sunday.
These teams met in week three, with the Colts winning, 44-17. Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Jaguars moved the ball pretty well, but were held back with 3 turnovers and a series of other miscues. Bortles connected well with his receivers and with a few less mistakes, they could have been in the game. The problem was the Jags defense, which really had no answers for Luck. Even the Colts run-game flourished in that game.
The Colts have been exceptionally streaky. They started the season 0-2, before winning 5 straight and looking like one of the very few top teams in the AFC. But losses to Pittsburgh and New England, sandwiching a win over the struggling Giants has seen the Colts cooling off a bit. Offensively, Andrew Luck leads the leagues top-ranked passing offense. They are the NFLs 3rd best scoring offense. The problem is a defense that can deliver performances from week-to-week that cover a vast range of forms.
The Jaguars hopefully figured something out during the bye week because they really need something good to happen. At 15.8 points a game, only one other offense is worse than the Jags this season. And only one other defense has allowed more points than the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars can rationalize this by saying theyre building for the future and there is actually some credence to that. QB Blake Bortles is trying to grow in this system and while his performances have been uneven, its hard to expect that much with such a lack of talent in all areas of the team. But there are a few rookie receivers in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson who both offer promise. But Hurns is questionable and Robinson is on injured reserve. RB Denard Robinson has emerged as a good back. Cecil Shorts (questionable) is a good receiver, with TE Clay Harbor offering some upside, as well. With growth on the line, this offense could come around in a season or two. Right
now, its a struggle–a big one. And the injuries just make it that much worse.
When a team has a record like 1-9, it helps to look under the surface a bit. for the Jags, those findings produce mixed results. The defense often times plays pretty well, but struggles in putting together 4 quarters of solid play. In the last 6 weeks, theyve actually been in some games. They lost an 8-point game to Pittsburgh and suffered a 2-point loss to Tennessee, in addition to other games where the score doesnt reflect that they were at least competitive in spots. In other words, theyre not just going out there and getting pummeled. Theyve only covered two spreads this season, so they certainly havent been over-achieving. But maybe they can repeat their form from last year, where they went from hopeless to at least becoming a reliable force in an against-the-spread sense.
Unfortunately, the Jags arent likely to benefit from a Colts team that is overlooking them. Even though the Jags fail to command much respect and the Colts already handled them with ease this season, Indy needs a win badly. Going to 6-5 after looking as good as they did a few weeks ago would be a major setback and put Indy behind the 8-ball. The first time Jacksonville met Indy, the Colts were 0-2 and pining for a win. They may have caught Indy at a bad time again this week.
The Colts lost a major piece of manpower with Ahmad Bradshaw going down. As of press time, the exact nature of his injury is unknown, but count him out for Sunday. He has been huge in the run, pass, and in pass-protection. Losing him is a major setback, as he really added a valuable dimension to the Colts offense. TE Dwayne Allen also went down and is questionable for Sundays game. One good thing for the Colts is an abundance of offensive weaponry, including two good receivers in TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne. TE Coby Fleener seems to developing increased chemistry with Luck. Without Bradshaw, however, an already lackluster run-game becomes that much more suspect.
The spread is a biggie. It would have been easier when Indy was cruising along, but with them looking a bit deflated in the past few weeks, its not an easy call by any means. One could expect a rested Jaguars squad to come into Indy this week with some pep in their step. Its just that in the Luck era, the Colts usually take care of business against this caliber of opponent. I look for a Colts team to be shot out of a cannon at home this week, getting another conclusive win over the Jaguars.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Indianapolis Colts minus 14 points.