1. Ahmad Bradshaw's injury will be felt for as long as he's out. How does the Colts running game change as a result of him being out?
It's hard to truly convey just how much the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw will hurt the Colts. I would argue that he was quite possibly the best all-around running back in the league this year, when factoring in rushing, receiving, and blocking. Bradshaw was easily and by a long way the best back the Colts had, and that's just rushing. When you add in his receiving ability (he was on pace to set the record for most receiving TDs by a running back in a single season) and his pass blocking, he became a huge part of the Colts' offense.
Now, they're going to have to do it with Trent Richardson and Dan Herron at running back. Ultimately, the Colts will be fine on offense because they have Andrew Luck and a plethora of weapons, but without a doubt the loss of Bradshaw will be huge. And my gut says the Colts will be even more without a running game now - putting it even more on Andrew Luck.
2. The Colts run defense was gashed last week against the New England Patriots. Do you foresee the Jaguars doing the same?
Entering the game, the Colts actually ranked pretty well against the run - but of course, as you know, the Colts were dominated on the ground by the Patriots. I think Colts fans knew the run defense wasn't as good as the stats indicated entering the game, and we saw that clearly.
As for the Jaguars, I don't expect anything close to what we saw last week, but at the same time, let me say this - if the Jaguars resolve to run the ball as much as New England did, they will have success. The problem they will run into is the fact that they'll likely fall behind early and will have to turn away from the run game. So no, I don't think the Jaguars will have the success the Patriots did in running the football, in part due to the fact that they're not the Patriots and also in part due to the fact that they likely will get behind and need to throw some.
3. If you were Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch how would you attack the Indianapolis Colts defense?
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Firstly, I think you have to look at what the Patriots did last week and realize the weaknesses the Colts have against the run. While I don't think the Jaguars could duplicate that performance, it'd be stupid not to run the football.
Furthermore, both the Steelers and the Patriots have exploited the Colts' coverage by using bunch formations in passing situations, forcing the Colts out of their comfort zone - the Patriots used this several times on third down. Of course, the Colts are weak covering the tight end, so look for the tight end too.
And lastly, there's a good likelihood that Greg Toler could miss this game with a concussion, meaning the Colts could be without their second cornerback. Targeting that side of the field early to test the replacement (whether it be Darius Butler or Josh Gordy) would be wise as well. Ultimately, the Colts have a lot of weaknesses on defense, but they also have some strengths that allow them to play well against the average to below average teams. But we will see how they rebound this week with plenty of weaknesses on film for all teams to see.
4. Greg Toler is a question mark for Sunday. What does his absence do for your secondary?
A lot of Colts fans aren't too high on Greg Toler, but I have a slightly different take on him - I don't think he's a great corner by any means, but he has been a good addition to them this season. He has missed practice all week with a concussion and I think it's likely he could miss this Sunday's game.
The Colts still have Vontae Davis, who has played at a very high level, but opposite of him will be a question mark. Darius Butler is a great slot corner, but when forced outside he's just average and not as good as Toler. He'll likely play as the number two corner when the Jaguars go with two receivers, then when they go three wide Butler will slide back into the slot and Josh Gordy would play outside. I don't think we should overreact to the potential loss of Toler, but at the same time it takes the Colts' defensive strength and makes it a bit of a question mark - a defensive question mark the Colts really don't need right now.
5. What's your outcome prediction? Do the Jaguars steal one on Sunday or will the Colts win?
I think this could be a trap game for the Colts this week, and in fact before the season I thought this could be a game the Colts could lose. This certainly is a "trap game" candidate, but I think last week's loss will provide plenty of motivation for the team to not overlook Jacksonville. I do think the Colts will win one comfortably at home, though I expect the Jaguars to put everything out on the field in trying to get a win against the division leader. This one could turn into a closer game than it would appear on paper, but I think the motivation of last week's loss will propel the Colts toward a comfortable win this week.