We've got a busy day today at Big Cat Country, I've got our scouting report all ready, as well as some other game previews.
But first, a longstanding tradition.
You see, each week I try and ask the "enemy blogger" some questions. This week is no different, except that our "enemy" is also the reason this site exists. So I can't be too hard on Big Blue Shoe, founder of Stampede Blue for being a die hard Colts fan, cause he's taught me everything I know about the blogging experience. He even has some nice things to say about the Jaguars, as you'll see below...
Big Cat Country: Here we are again, week 13, Jaguars going to Indianapolis, another one of those "Big Games" from the Jaguars perspective. To start us off, what are your general thoughts going into this Matchup? I know that it seems that while the Jaguars see this "rivalry" (and I use that word carefully) as something important and meaningful, to the Colts it seems like we're just another team. How do you think the Colts are preparing to go into this game that would differ from say the Monday night game, or any of our previous meetings?
Stampede Blue:The Colts view this as the most important game they've played all season for a few reasons: 1) It will likely clinch the AFC south for the Colts if they win, 2) It's a home game, and 3) Jacksonville is really, really good. The game is indeed a rivalry game because it's a division game. All division games are tough, and games against Jacksonville are often very physical.
Big Cat Country: For the last several seasons it's felt like the Colts rarely suffered from any sort of serious injuries. This season is quite different as you've seen many important players on both sides of the ball miss extended time. How as overcoming all these injuries effected the psyche of this Colts team? Has it made them harder for overcoming the adversity? Specifically could you address the injuries on the Offensive and Defensive lines for this weekend?
Stampede Blue: Injuries are nothing new to this team. Last year they lost both starting DTs and their starting safety for the season. They also lost Brandon Stokley, who was a major cog in their offense. They made due with those loses and won it all. This year, the loss of Freeney for the season has lead some people to think the Colts are effected by the injuries. I don't think it's effected their psyche or anything, but it has effected their crispness and execution, which is expected. On defense, they've played as great now as they've ever played, even without Freeney. The offense has been hit hardest, which is why people have taken notice. For the weekend, it's unlikely Marvin Harrison will play. I'm hopeful LT Tony Ugoh will play.
Big Cat Country: As someone who's been very vocal about the Jaguars quarterback situation (Fatty McButterpants), I assume you've had more than a passing interest in the development and maturation of David Garrard. Last time we met, he was injured early and never really got into the game. What are your thoughts on David so far this season and how do you think the Colts will attack him and perhaps force him into making a mistake?
Stampede Blue: I think Garrard's 0 INTs should be getting the same kind of publicity Brady is getting throwing 38 TDs in 13 weeks. To throw 0 INTs in 9 games played is phenomenal! If Farve or Manning or Brady had 0 INTs thus far this year, you'd see a helluva lot more written about it. Garrard is having a great season, and he is THE reason Jacksonville is 7-3. His QB play has been brilliant.
Big Cat Country: Imagine, if you will (and I know this is a painful thought) that you're on Jack Del Rio's staff. How would you gameplan against the Colts? Who would you target? Who would you be careful to account for in the plan?
Stampede Blue: Well, his gameplan last year this time worked pretty damn well! You've got to run the ball on Indy, or have your Special Teams get you some TDs. This forces Indy to play catch-up, and limits Manning's opportunities on the field. The Colts run defense is very good though. So, running for 300 yards is unlikely to happen again (thank Christ!). But running the ball is what the Jags do. Jacksonville should just do what they do, and not get too cute. If they come out throwing, they are in for trouble. If they get behind, they are in for trouble. They need to control the clock and score TDs. If they don't, Indy will maul them once again.
Big Cat Country: Finally, Give us your thoughts about how the game will go, and of course, the score prediction.
Stampede Blue:I think the game will go very much like the last time these two teams met. Other than special teams, the Jags have no advantage over Indy. Indy's defense is better than the Jags'. Their offense is better. Running backs are better. QB is better. Even with the injuries at WR, Gonzalez and Wayne are better than Reggie Williams and Matt Jones. If Tony Ugoh plays, the Colts will likely run the ball down Jacksonville's throat, ala the game several weeks ago. This will open up the play action passes, and if Manning has time he will murder Jacksonville's secondary.
Understand though, this is the best Jacksonville Jaguars team I've seen since the 1996 team that went to the AFC Championship. With David Garrard as the fulltime QB, the offense is no longer a slow, lumbering, turnover machine. However, the Colts are just better, and the one advantage the Jags had over Indy (defense) is no longer one. Indy's defense is insanely fierce, and can dominate football games. So, Colts 27, Jaguars 17.
Big Cat Country: Thanks Big Blue Shoe for the time!
So there you go, thoughts on the game from the Colts perspective. We'll have to agree to disagree on some points, but overall he knows his stuff.
I've got to go do a spot of auto maintence before my long drive tomorrow, so I'll be back later with the scouting report!