On Sunday, we’ll watch the Indianapolis Colts face the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC South matchup. In this article, find the latest betting odds for this game and a full matchup preview. In addition, find our best bet which is the Colts +4.5.
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction
The Jaguars find themselves in a very difficult spot here. They’re coming off two straight wins in London, and now they return to the United States without getting a bye week. That two-week stay in London will result in a difficult re-adjustment to our time zone, and that could further hamper an offense that hasn’t totally clicked this year.
It’s surprising given the level of talent Jacksonville has on that end, but the Jaguars rank just 21st in offensive EPA this year. Whether it’s due to poor play calling from offensive coordinator Press Taylor or an offensive line that ranks dead last in pass-blocking win rate, the Jaguars haven’t impressed despite having Trevor Lawrence and an elite group of skill players.
The Colts will roll out Gardner Minshew this week as rookie phenom Anthony Richardson sadly hit the IR with a shoulder injury that will keep him out for the foreseeable future. However, Richardson remains unpolished as a passer, and Minshew gives this offense a much higher floor in the passing game.
Minshew is making his return to Duval County after spending time as the Jaguars’ starter, and while he won’t be pushing for Pro Bowl votes anytime soon, he’s a reliable passer who can be very efficient in Shane Steichen’s impressive scheme. Minshew completed 78.6% of his passes last week against the Titans with 11.1 yards per attempt.
The Jaguars are coming off a win over the Bills where they had every situational advantage, but that isn’t the case here. This is a great time to sell high on Jacksonville, who I still feel has major issues around the margins.
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction: Colts +4.5
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Best Odds
The Jaguars are currently 4 or 4.5-point home favorites across the market. Homefield advantage is now worth somewhere around 1.5 points, so this line suggests that the Jaguars are 2.5 or 3 points better on a neutral site. The over/under for this game sits at 44.5 points.
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Injuries
The Colts were very happy to get running back Jonathan Taylor off the PUP, but they aren’t out of the woods with injuries. In particular, the status of tackles Bernhard Raimann and Braden Smith needs to be monitored this week. The Jaguars, meanwhile, could be without two key offensive players – offensive tackle Walker Little and wide receiver Zay Jones – as both are dealing with knee injuries.
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Matchups
When these AFC South teams face off, there are tons of interesting matchups to take note of. Here, I’ll break down the key matchups that will decide the winner of the game.
Jonathan Taylor Vs. Jaguars’ Run Defense
The Colts got Jonathan Taylor back in the lineup last week after he missed the first four games on the PUP list, but he had just six carries for 18 yards. The expectation is for his workload to be ramped up this week, and the former All Pro running back has tremendous potential in this new look Shane Steichen offense.
The Jaguars’ run defense has been outstanding this season, ranking top five in DVOA, EPA, and success rate. They’ve allowed 100 yards to a running back just once through their five games so far. Taylor has gotten the best of Jacksonville throughout his career though, averaging over 100 yards per game and 6.2 YPC against them.
With Anthony Richardson out and Gardner Minshew in, I expect more of a traditional dropback passing game for Indianapolis. However, Minshew’s life will be made easier if Taylor can lessen some of the burden behind an ascending offensive line.
Remember in Week 17 when Jonathan Taylor ran for 253 yards vs. the Jaguars pic.twitter.com/gbj2Ro0qk4
— Jarad Evans (@Jarad_Evans) March 5, 2021
Calvin Ridley Vs. Colts’ Secondary
It’s been an up and down season for Calvin Ridley in his first year in Jacksonville, which was to be expected after missing over a year due to injuries and a suspension. However, he’s coming off a monster game against the Bills with seven catches for 122 yards. That was his best game of the year since Week 1.
In Week 1, the Colts allowed Ridley to finish with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. It will be important for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to devise a better game plan for how to slow down the star wideout, and the Colts rank just 20th in passing success rate allowed this season.
Second round rookie cornerback JuJu Brents missed that earlier matchup against Jacksonville, but he has impressed in his three starts since. At 6’3”, 198 lbs, he’s a menacing presence on the boundary, and the Kansas State product has allowed just 11 catches for 120 yards in coverage through his three games.
Trevor Lawrence ➡️ Calvin Ridley TOUCHDOWN
The first of many. 🏈
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— NFL on DAZN (@NFLonDAZN) September 10, 2023