Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts: Storylines, prediction in must-win for Colts’ playoff hopes

Can the Indianapolis Colts keep their Wild Card hopes alive in an AFC South divisional clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars? We break it down.

The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts isn’t a powerhouse matchup, but there is much to discuss regarding both sides. So much has occurred in the NFL season that the Urban Meyer controversy feels like a lifetime ago, and the lifeless Jaguars have now won two of their last three games. The Colts have turned around some early misfortunes and are 4-2 in their previous six games.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts storylines

But those aren’t stories. They are results. The fact is, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars’ offense is struggling. Carson Wentz seems to have mostly fixed his worst mechanical failures, resulting in the QB we grew to respect before 2020. If the Colts take care of business against Jacksonville, could they climb the ladder of a muddled AFC to make a run at the Wild Card?

Trevor Lawrence: Struggling or surviving?

I swear this isn’t a cop-out, but it is both. Lawrence is struggling with accuracy that I break down in our QB Rookie Rankings, particularly when he’s forced off his natural base. Balls tend to nosedive a bit before reaching the intended target. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s better to see the ball land low and safe rather than high and in danger. Unfortunately, he’s still putting the ball in danger far too often.

However, Lawrence has excelled at working around pressure and standing tall in the pocket to make plays late in progressions. He’s also surrounded by some of the most ungrateful pass catchers I’ve seen in some time. Nobody is genuinely interested in making a play for the young man.

That could be frustrating for a young quarterback, but Lawrence hasn’t stopped trying to make plays or learn as he goes. He’s not shying away from pressure, and he’s not simply checking things down. If I’ve learned one thing about this crop of rookie QBs, it’s that they’re mentally tough.

Lawrence is surviving not only his struggle but the struggles and sins of his franchise.

Carson Wentz is back

Wentz isn’t back to where people thought he could be the MVP (like in 2017), but he’s back to playing acceptable football, even if it’s terrifying to watch at times. He tries to turn the ball over quite a bit as he extends plays he has no business extending, but it hasn’t truly killed his football team the way it did in his last season with Philadelphia.

We saw that Wentz in an ugly game against the Titans, but his other eight games have not been so concerning. He still lacks in areas. Nonetheless, he’s found his safety blanket in Michael Pittman Jr. — he is his Alshon Jeffery.

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Having Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines certainly helps too, along with what’s looked like an improving offensive line as the season wears on. He’s still not the sharpest mentally, and he’s not the most naturally accurate, but his playmaking ability makes up for his shortcomings.

He’s probably not the long-term answer if they’re looking to win a championship, but he’s good enough to play on a contender.

Colts climbing back into AFC Wild Card race?

I wish I could see this team making the playoffs because it’s easy from afar to root for Frank Reich and Chris Ballard.

But it’s tough to feel good about the possibility with their schedule.

They still face the Bills, Buccaneers, Patriots, Cardinals, and Raiders with eight games left. That makes their two games against the Jaguars and one game against Texans absolute must-wins.

That’s a gauntlet. At 4-5, one would have to imagine nine wins is a must. That means they must win five of their next eight and steal wins against two teams better than them. It’s a tall task, but they have the talent to do it.

Jaguars vs. Colts betting odds and game prediction

The Colts are 10-point favorites against the Jaguars heading into their Sunday matchup. The Jaguars’ offense is awful. They’ve only managed 20 points three times this season and haven’t scored more than 23 in any game. The one thing they do well is run the ball.

Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Colts are excellent at stopping the run. This feels like a comfortable victory for the Colts on paper.

Jaguars vs. Colts Prediction: Colts 24, Jaguars 13

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