Following a loss against Houston last week, in which the team was a flat out embarrassment, the Jaguars will no doubt be energized to attempt and show that what the team's fans saw in that game was an aberration and there is still a proverbial "arrow" pointing in the right direction.
The Colts meanwhile, are coming off the first win of the Andrew Luck Era, after defeating the Minnesota Vikings in come from behind fashion last week in their home opener. With the Jaguars team entering the game at 0-2 and still trying to heal from a terrible loss and a continually flooded injury report, Indianapolis must certainly believe this is a game that is ripe for the taking.
Both teams match up fairly well with each other, and despite the Jags winning both times last year against a Curtis Painter-led Colts team, the wins were never a sure thing. Having said that, let's take a look at three things to keep an eye on for the Colts this Sunday in Indy.
1. In Their Defense
For the first time this season, Jaguars fans will get a look at the new head coach Chuck Pagano's 34 defense for the Colts. Gone are the days of the Tony Dungy influenced Tampa 2 defense, with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis coming like bats out of hell with their hands on the ground every play. The aforementioned defensive ends, are now outside rush linebackers in the new 34 scheme, and while they still will align with Mathis and Freeney in the three-point stance, you'll see more of the two standing up in free space than most Jags fans would recognize from the Colts defense. While Freeney has been hampered by injuries so far this season, and is luckily for Jags fans unlikely to suit up Sunday, Mathis has picked up right where he left off in the new scheme and has already tallied 3 sacks to go along with 12 tackles in two games so far. The Jaguars will once again be starting the turnstile that is Guy Whimper at right tackle on Sunday, and after being basically ran over by Brian Robison and J.J. Watt in consecutive weeks, the prospects don't look any better for the right side of the Jags line with Mathis coming ready to play on Sunday.
2. Down With the Brown
If their continues to be one weakness with the Colts offense, it's that the running game still leaves a lot to be desired. Running back Donald Brown returns as the starter, and the production expected from the former first round pick still has yet to show up in great numbers. Through the first two games, Brown has a combined 93 yards on the ground, on 25 carries with one touchdown. While Brown has been limited in his success thus far, he has held his own somewhat against the Jaguars over the past few years, including a 12 carry, 129 yard game in 2010 that was the deciding factor in the AFC South race. The Jaguars enter the game ranked second to last in the NFL in defending the run, and should Andrew Luck open the game with a couple of big pass plays down the field, the opportunity for Brown to expose a very weak front seven of the Jaguars could present itself.
The Colts enter Sunday's game ranked 25th in pass defense, allowing 546 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, while opposing quarterbacks have finished with an average QB Rating of 106.7. While a lot can be pinned on a new defensive scheme and the loss of Freeney and fantastic linebacker Pat Angerer, most of the vitriol for the Colts pass defense woes have been placed at the feet of recently acquired corner back, Vontae Davis. The former Dolphin has given up 2 of the 4 touchdowns through the air so far, and as Alfie pointed out earlier today, has given up 10 of the 11 passes thrown in his direction allowing opposing quarterbacks a perfect 158.3 QB rating thus far. Davis has the talent to be a very good corner, and has shown flashes of good things during his time in Miami, but the Jaguars will undoubtedly be looking to target him early and often to see how he responds to his recent woes. Either Davis turns the tables and shows what made the Colts give away a second round pick for him, or the Jaguars could end up having the break out game for the likes of Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, they've been waiting for.