The Jacksonville Jaguars head into Indianapolis to play a Colts team fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday. With a win, the Colts can remain firmly in the playoff mix, but losing to the NFL’s worst team would all but seal their fate as a rare 10-win team who would not qualify for the postseason.
The Jaguars (1-14) have been in player development mode for several weeks now, and that was the case last week in a 41-17 defeat at the hands of the Bears last week.
With starting RB James Robinson out due to injury, the team took a closer look at reserve RB Dare Ogunbowale, who responded with a 71-yard rushing day on 14 carries.
The Colts (10-5) were locked into a potential AFC playoff game preview with the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, and almost came out victorious. They had a sizeable lead at halftime, but could not hold on to their advantage, and ended up losing 28-24 at Heinz Field.
Indianapolis’ usually reliable defense held serve for a while, but could not contain QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense in the third and fourth quarters.
Head to Head
The Colts and Jaguars have squared off a total of 39 times in the past, with Indianapolis holding a 24-15 edge in the all-time series. They last played in Week 1 of this season, where Jacksonville was surprisingly able to come away with a 27-20 victory at home.
Despite their record, the Jacksonville Jaguars have remained competitive in many games with their emerging young players, but the challenge will be far more daunting on Sunday without a couple of their key guys.
WR D.J. Chark will not be able to suit up due to a shin injury, and RB James Robinson won’t play either as he nurses an ankle ailment. It will be interesting to see if the team manufactures touches for rookie WR Lavishka Shenault in the absence of those two key players.
The Indianapolis Colts are fortunate to come into their Week 17 must-win game with most of their skill position players healthy. WR Michael Pittman had been recovering from a concussion, but practiced fully this week and is expected to play.
However, the team will be without starting LT Anthony Castonzo for the rest of the season, who will undergo ankle surgery. This could be a big factor moving forward if the Colts make the playoffs, as QB Philip Rivers is not known for being the most mobile in the pocket.
QB: Mike Glennon
RB: Dare Ogunbawale
WR: Keelan Cole, Lavishka Shenault
TE: Tyler Eifert
QB: Philip Rivers
RB: Jonathan Taylor
WR: T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal
TE: Trey Burton, Mo Alie Cox, Jack Doyle(Q)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts Prediction
With the exception of professional pride, there usually isn’t a great reason to pick the team whose season effectively ended many weeks ago playing against a team who has everything to lose if they can’t come out with a victory.
If Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone can get his guys to fight in Week 17, it would say a lot about his ability to motivate his players, and might entice Jacksonville management to give him another season.
Prediction: At the end of the day, Jacksonville is missing several key offensive weapons, against a Colts defense that is among the very best in the NFL.
Indianapolis should be able to control the clock and force a couple of turnovers in what should be a relatively stress-free game for the home team.
Colts 37, Jaguars 16.Published 02 Jan 2021, 22:01 IST