The Silly Season is upon us. That time of year where Players turned Reporters decry and hype their playoff picks and try to make us forget what they said in March and April (remember Miami and Carolina?). Anyhow, with that madness driving us crazy, let's take a close look at the biggest game of the weekend, the Indianapolis Colts traveling to Jacksonville with home field and a division title on the line for the Colts and the Playoff hopes of the Jags up in the air.
The biggest story of the week (ugh) is that head coach Jack Del Rio will be sporting the suit this Sunday. Very exciting stuff, and I know that'll be the key to the game. Actually, I like the suits and if it makes Jack a better coach then go for it. I bring this up only because whilst studying for finals I happen to keep ESPN (THE worldwide leader) on in the background and the only bit if insight I've heard into the game is the appearance of Jack's suit.
Did you know that of the 19 touchdowns scored against the Jags, eight have come from the "U"? Normally things like this don't cross my radar, but two factors here come to mind. 1. Reggie Wayne is one of those pesky players from "The M", and 2. I've been talking a lot of crap to some of my South Florida friends about the terrible attitude that the school seems to foster. So I'm either about to eat a lot of crow or all that negative Miami Karma is gonna run over the Colts. In all fairness, I'd never put Reggie in the same category as some other players out of "The U" like Kellen or Shokey, Reggie plays hard and keeps his head out of trouble, so I won't hate on him for his choice of schools.
All of these guys are on the injury list.
CB Ahmad Carroll (Groin)
OLB Jorge Cordova (Hamstring)
CB Terry Cousin (Groin)
WR Cortez Hankton (Hamstring)
P Chris Hanson (Left Hamstring)
OLB Clint Ingram (Shoulder)
RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Hamstring)
G Vincent Manuwai (Wrist)
RB Montell Owens (Shoulder)
LB Kenneth Pettway (Knee)
OLB Daryl Smith (Shoulder)
FS Nick Sorensen (Hamstring)
DT Marcus Stroud (Ankle)
CB Brian Williams (Hamstring)
RB Derrick Wimbush (Ankle)
TE George Wrighster (Shoulder)
But Jack's being clever. All of them are listed as probable. It's playoff season, every game from here on out keeps us in the hunt and you gotta be playing hurt. No matter what. There's plenty of time to rest in Feb, no reason to burn time in December.
Speaking of Injuries...Chicago DT Tommie Harris (no relation) is possibly out due to a hammy injury. You know this because the NFL/ESPN Noise Machine has been talking about how Chicago is no longer the favorite for the NFC because of the injuries on their defense. Now, you can predict my rant. Jacksonville lost it's starting Defensive End, Middle Linebacker, Defensive Tackle (for 4 weeks), Strong Safety, and Cornerback at various times and STILL rocks the list at number 3 overall defense. Yeah, that's right, number 3. But you wouldn't know it based on the terrible coverage. I know that the problem is that the Jags are under a pretty big shadow with the Colts in the AFC south, and the muddled AFC playoff picture makes it hard to follow anyone, but come on, give a bit of credit where it's due. Perhaps a few INT's and Pressures on Manning will get a bit of attention. (I swear I'm not playing the respect card)
I might have been a bit...bitter in Turf Show Times fourm about the Playoffs. But have no fear fellow Jaguar Travelers, I'm behind the team, just paranoid. Some say we have to win three to get in, I think it's 4. That's beating Indy, New England (both at home), the suddenly and frightengly hot Titans, and finishing out against the Chiefs at Arrowhead (where they tend to NOT lose in December). That being said, here's who I'm supporting this week. I'm a hardcore Charger Fan on the side anyhow, so rooting for them to beat Denver is not very hard. Cheering for Air McNair and the Ravens to beat Kansas City is a wee bit harder, considering the torrid history that Steve and I have (damn that 1999 season). The real kicker would be if Buffalo could pull out a surprise against the Jets, that would do Jacksonville nicely. It's far less likely, but throwing some good karma toward Oakland might be nice as they play the Bengals. Given that this is unlikely, I think that sadly, next week I think I'm going to have to become a Colts fan because they play Cincy who's deeper in the wild card hunt than I'd like. So this week, we all cheer for the Chargers, Ravens, and Bills, next week, it's the Colts (ugh).
River City's Keys to Victory:
- Run The Ball: Feed Fred Taylor and MJD all the Carries they Can Muster!
- Pressure, not Blitz: Peyton feeds off of blitzes, but good pressure can win the day without allowing the big play.
- Mathis and Williams, live to the Hype: Shutdown Corners shut down, you've got Wayne and Harrison coming to town, show em that you are what you say you are. Got it?
- SPECIAL TEAMS: We lost to the Colts earlier this season because we let a punt be returned for a TD. This week requires our boys to ensure victory in the field position battle AND not allow giant mistakes like that.
- Don't be stupid: Watch tape of last December. Remember the late hits, remember the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties? Last time you played the Colts in December you lost all composure and showed the world that they were the better and smarter team. No matter what happens this game will be judged by the growth you show between those games. Do not make stupid mistakes and don't let the Colts pull their penalty flopping. They know we're aggressive, don't let them turn that against you.