#312 Indianapolis Coltsvs.#311 Jacksonville Jaguars
Written by Chuck D
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-12 (7-8 ATS) at Indianapolis Colts 7-8 (7-7 ATS)
When and Where: Sunday, Jan 1, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. 1:00pm EST (CBS)
Spread: Indianapolis -4.5; Total: 47
A funny thing happened in Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jaguars won a football game, defeating the Tennessee Titans 38-17. It was the team’s first victory in the last 10 tries. The headline of the sports section in the Florida Times Union (Jax paper) read, “Hallelujah.” The Colts traveled out West to do battle and returned home a 33-25 loser. While the loss officially eliminated the squad from playoff contention, the reality is their hopes were slim to none well before that. While the Jags have won just three times on the season, their first one came against Indianapolis at home earlier this season.
A season of high expectations has been a general disappointment in the River City this year. After opening the year with three straight defeats, back-to-back wins had fans thinking the team had possibly steadied the ship. What we found out immediately afterwards, was that they had not. Nine consecutive defeats followed, culminating in the firing of head coach Gus Bradley after the Jags blew a 20-7 lead and lost to the Texans by one point in Houston. Blake Bortles, who threw for the second most amount of yards in the league a season ago, has been a bit of an interception machine this season. The second-year QB out of UCF has thrown for 16 of them, but has also thrown for 22 touchdowns and 3,604 yards on the year. The squad has lacked a rushing attack with T.J. Yeldon leading the way with just 465 yards and one score.
Doug Marrone, making his debut as the interim head coach for the Jaguars, led his team to a 21-point victory over division-rival Tennessee. His team jumped out to a 10-0 lead, which frankly, is nothing new for Jacksonville. The team has blown multiple leads during the losing streak, but this time around they not only held on for the victory, but continued to extend the lead throughout the contest. One thing probably helping their cause was Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota going down with a broken fibula in the third quarter. The team outgained Tennessee 415-263 on the day, including 331 yards through the air.
The Colts tried to make a game of it out on the left coast but in the end would fall by eight points to the Raiders in the Black Hole. With Oakland leading comfortably 33-14 in the fourth quarter, a low hit sent MVP candidate Derek Carr out of the game with a broken fibula and former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin was inserted. With McGloin ineffective at the QB position, Indianapolis began to mount their comeback. Andrew Luck completed 19 of 29 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. With the loss, the team was eliminated from the postseason for the second year in a row.
“Obviously, we’re all very disappointed,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “We had numerous opportunities and numerous chances. It’s hard. Football’s hard.” Pagano would later shoulder the blame for his team’s woes this season. It is fair to say that the team had an up and down season seems appropriate. The squad exchanged wins and losses for most of the year, never winning or losing more than two in a row, with each of those occasions happening just once.
This has close game written all over it. The Colts have nothing to play for other than maybe their head coach’s job. Technically Jacksonville has nothing to play for either but the squad is playing really loose, as evidenced by their three-touchdown win over the Titans this past weekend. Also, Gus Bradley is gone, which worked out really well for them on Sunday.
The two teams combined for 63 points in last week’s action, and 47 in their their game earlier this season. That game seems like a long time ago, however, and with 47 points being the listed total for this week, you would need a report performance from that game to hit it. I do not see it happening. The teams are always more familiar with one another the second time they meet. The under has hit the last five times these two squads have matched up in Indy and is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings overall.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.