Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) +7, 45 O/U at Indianapolis Colts (9-2) -7, RCA Dome, Indianapolis, 1.00pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com

There are some great and meaningful games this week and this is probably the most meaningful of them all because of the added divisional implications. With Indianapolis only one game clear of Jacksonville for the AFC South title and with Tennessee languishing on 6-5, this is probably the game that will decide the division if Indianapolis should happen to win it.

In the week 7 match up between these teams on Monday Night Football, the Jags
lost David Garrard early in the second quarter when trailing 7-0. Up to
that point there were right in the game and it was pretty evenly poised
through 1 quarter. Quinn Gray entered in replacement of Garrard and gave
up two interceptions with 9 completions from 24 attempts. He improved significantly
in subsequent games but it was a tall order to expect him to come in against
such a dominant pass rush.

There are significant personnel changes from that first meeting, in addition to the venue change, not the least of which being the absence from this game of Dwight Freeney. In the previous encounter Dwight had 4 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Colts. He was in Gray’s face for much of the night and really unsettled him. Without Dwight’s aggression it is likely that the mistake free Garrad can pick apart the Colt’s defense to some degree. With the two pronged running attack of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville has a good mix of run and pass and should be able to attack one of the better defenses in the league.

Indianapolis, and especially Peyton Manning have looked decidedly vulnerable offensively of late and would need to be on their game here meeting a very capable defensive opponent. Peyton cannot afford to have the kind of off night he did against San Diego or the division will be knotted up come Sunday afternoon. The Colts come off a 10 day break, having played on Turkey Day and that could help them. Though Marvin Harrison is likely to miss again they will welcome Tony Ugoh back to their offensive live and linebacker Tyjuan Hagler back on D.

I have to admit I was pretty keen on Jacksonville at the first meeting between these teams and left my money in the bookie’s bag on that occasion. I would be extremely keen on Jax again here if I could get a 7 point start but it’s currently at 6.5 and I don’t think I am going to get it. Nonetheless, the vulnerability I have seen from Peyton of late has me pretty keen to lay them against quality opposition. They had no such resistance in their last two wins against Kansas City and Atlanta and were awful in their loss to San Diego. Meeting a very solid and, more importantly, healthy Jaguar outfit here will thoroughly test them, even at RCA.

The Snake’s Bite: Take the Jaguars at the +6.5. If you can get the
+7 even better, but I give them a fluker’s chance to win outright here and
like them at the spread. Indianapolis has looked decidedly off their game
and Jacksonville is most definitely a team capable of exploiting any such
weakness. The Jags have played extremely well of late and managed something
the Colts could not, a victory over the Chargers.