A lot of Jacksonville Jaguars fans are dreading the match up with divisional foe the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. The Jaguars pass defense has been obliterated through three games giving up 289 yards in the air per game. Guess who gets to come to Jacksonville now and test that pass defense?
Some guy who's third in the NFL in passing yards, Peyton Manning.
Unlike seasons past, the Colts have already suffered their first loss of the season. In Week 1 against fellow AFC South opponent the Houston Texans, the Colts were ran over.
The Colts marched right on the following two weeks and continued to be the Colts, lighting up the scoreboard through the air.
There was a game however, that I saw something that could help the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Colts. We know the Jaguars pass defense is atrocious, shockingly however it's not ranked dead last in the NFL. I'm sure most are expecting Manning to come right in and shred the Jaguars just as he has in years past. One thing to mention however, is the Jaguars have a knack for stifling Manning and getting him off his game. The Colts typically still win the football game, but a lot of the time Manning's numbers or off his season average.
The Jaguars need to take a page out of the New York Giants book. Yeah, the Giants were walloped by the Colts 38-14, but they made the Colts beat them on the ground. The Giants would often bring in more defensive backs and drop 6, 7, and sometimes 8 players into coverage and let Manning sit in the pocket and try to fit the ball into tiny windows. The Colts wound up modifying their offense and running the football 43 times as opposed to only 26 pass attempts. Peyton Manning averages 42 pass attempts per game on the season, so the Giants definitely made the Colts play to their weakness.
The past few seasons the Colts haven't been able to run the football. Really, ever since the Colts won the Super Bowl their running game has been nearly non-existent. Joseph Addai is a talented back, but the Colts clearly aren't satisfied with him else they wouldn't have drafted Donald Brown in the first round. Donald Brown has also been disappointing and the Colts have just resorted to passing and more passing. Currently the Colts are 25th in the NFL in rushing, with an average of only 81.3 yards per game on the ground. The Colts haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2007.
Aside from the Jaguars offensive struggles, the key to beating the Indianapolis Colts is to make them run the football. However that may be, do it. If the Jaguars need to bait the Colts into doing it by playing some dime and quarter packages, do it. The Colts offensive line is anything but maulers, so take your poison and die slowly rather than let Manning go right for the throat. The former lets you play to your offenses strength and run the football. The latter is... well we've seen how playing catch-up works the last two weeks. No thanks.