Week 11 Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (5-4 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Point Spread: JAC +2.5/IND -2.5 (WagerWeb - 50% bonus up to $1000 in FREE bets!)
Over/Under Total: 44
The Jacksonville Jaguars come into Lucas Oil Stadium for a Week 11 AFC South matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars were off last week, following a rough loss to Houston that ended a two-game winning streak. The time off afforded them more time to get original starting quarterback Nick Foles around to good health, and we’ll see if he can get this pointed in the right direction. The Colts are in a better spot at 5-4 and will also likely have their starting QB back in Jacoby Brissett, but there are other issues after the Colts suffered their second straight loss—a tough-to-stomach 16-12 home loss to the Miami Dolphins of all teams. Who can get on the right track this week?
Can Indy Right the Ship?
At 5-2, Indy’s record might have been a little puffed up—all one-score wins against mostly so-so teams. A loss on the road to a Steelers’ team rounding into shape is one thing, but a loss at home to Miami doesn’t speak well about their prospects to actually make a postseason or division-winning run. The defense is still doing a good job, and on Sunday, we saw playmaker Darius Leonard get a pick and a sack. They can make a difference. And getting Brissett back will presumably help, assuming the week of practice goes according to plan. Their recent bad fortunes would seem to hasten his return.
After dropping one to Miami at home, it would be hard to justify the Colts’ cause if they don’t at least get one win in this two-game homestand. A loss here, to a sub-.500 division rival with the urgency ratcheted up, and Foles back in the fold could really send this team sideways. It’s a definite fork-in-the-road moment for the Colts. On defense, they need Justin Houston rushing the passer, with Leonard making plays in the middle, and a secondary that can rediscover its playmaking ability. Still, with 16 or fewer points allowed in two of their last three games, they’ve been pretty serviceable in the face of an offense, not always doing its share of the heavy lifting. They should be a decent entrance exam for the returning Foles and his cast.
Whether Brissett can hit the ground running upon his return remains to be seen. In four of their nine games, the Colts have scored less than 20 points. They’re missing some pieces, namely TY Hilton. With the Luck retirement and their top offensive weapon out, they’re a bit thin from a playmaking standpoint. Running back Marlon Mack is a weapon, as is TE Eric Ebron, but the big plays are sometimes few and far between from this group. The line needs to play better, particularly against a Jaguars’ defense that can wreak a lot of havoc. We’ll see if they can contain guys like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Josh Allen, and Dawuane Smoot. Even with Jalen Ramsey having departed, they still feature a suitable pass-defense, especially against a Colts’ aerial attack that isn’t always on fire. Against a dicey Jags’ run defense, however, look for Marlon Mack to have a better game than he had last week.
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Can the Jaguars Go on a Spurt?
On paper, it would appear so, as they had some success even with Foles not behind center. They have some horses on offense, and the return of Foles can maybe help them get the most of what they have on the table. They can exploit the Indy “D” with both the run game and through the air. Leonard Fournette has been a great ground-weapon this season thus far, with receiver DJ Chark coming into his own, with contributions from Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook (questionable), and Keelan Cole. Look for Foles to help turn these weapons loose a little better. Indy’s defense, however, is dangerous, and if Foles is off-target or if the Jags’ offense make mistakes, an opportunistic Colts’ defense could tilt things in their column.
Exploring Some Variables
I do not doubt that the Jaguars are a prideful bunch who will be rested and getting an emotional boost against from their starting QB returning. They are a flawed bunch but can run the ball and play some defense. And some may feel that the Colts are one of those teams that comes out strong, only to see the realities of life rendering them a spent force in the second half of the season—something we’ve seen before. But the same resolve and character that allowed them to survive rocky passages with the sudden retirement of Luck to win five of their first seven games is still at play. And at home in their division, looking to atone for last week, this might be a bad week to question a Colts team that has shown they can overachieve.
Last season, the Jags did pretty well against the Colts, even shutting them out in week 13. And that was with Andrew Luck in there for Indy, with a good Colts team and a bad Jaguars one that won five games all season. When crunching numbers, there isn’t a ton of compelling tidbits that pop out. I suspect that the Jaguars will be able to hang in there and be right in this game.
Take the Road Dog
I see this as being a toss-up type of game. It’s not hard to see how the Jags match up well across most areas with the Colts, with maybe a little more of a playmaking component on both sides of the ball. Identifying the exact peaks and valleys with these middling teams can be exceedingly difficult, other than having a slight inkling that the Jags may have slightly eclipsed the Colts on the overall fulcrum of merit. Then again, if we’re going to hold it against Indy for losing to Miami at home, Jacksonville looked pretty rough in putting up a mere field goal in their last game at home. Still, I see the Jags having a chance to take this one, so I’ll take the points.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars plus 2.5 points.