The Jacksonville Jaguars look to avenge their Week 4 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The team's 17-14 loss to the Colts earlier in the season was one of those games where you think to yourself "we are so close, but we are so far". This is their chance to split the annual series against the Colts, and show us something they couldn't in Week 4 -- the Jaguars can win divisional games against teams not named the Tennessee Titans.
While it will be a battle between the two teams on each side of the ball, I'm looking for a specific individual matchup that could potentially make-or-break the game for Jacksonville.
But "individual matchups" does not necessarily mean just two players facing off against each other. It could be Blake Bortles vs. the Colts defense, Allen Robinson vs. Vontae Davis, and more.
Last week's matchup of the Jaguars vs. Titans game was Julius Thomas vs. the Titans secondary. I'd call this one a draw, Thomas caught a touchdown to keep the Jaguars close in the game, but in total only gained 12 yards on two receptions as the team lost, 42-39.
My matchup of the week is the Jaguars defense vs. Matt Hasselbeck. Wow. Never thought I'd say that.
Jaguars defense vs. Matt Hasselbeck:
Is it fair to sum up the Jaguars defense as abysmal?
While we have seen flashes of positivity from the Jaguars defense this year, the unit has been very disappointing. The Jaguars rank 30th in the league in points allowed per game with just over 28, as well as 26th in the league in pass yards allowed per game, averaging 268 pass yards given up.
Matt Hasselbeck has played very well this season in by all standards, not to mention he's 40 years old (long sigh). Hasselbeck has led the Colts to a 4-1 record when starting, has thrown 8 touchdowns over 4 interceptions, tossed for almost 1200 yards, and has posted an 89.5 passer rating.
Hasselbeck has thrown 176 passes in his 5 starts, averaging about 35 pass attempts per game. That's just four pass attempts less than (23 year old) Blake Bortles is averaging - 39. The Colts' offense is not relying on a run game or any other factor: the Colts' offense is relying on Matt Hasselbeck.
How this matchup will effect the game:
The Jaguars' defense surrendered 282 passing yards to Matt Hasselbeck in week four, and the 40 year old, ailing Hasselbeck, who was suffering from the flu and was throwing up on the sidelines during the game, led the Colts to a 16-14 victory.
If the Jaguars want to beat the Colts today, the defense needs to step up and contain Matt Hasselbeck in order to slow down the Colts offense. The Jaguars' defense must apply pressure (another long sigh) and remain strong in the secondary to slow him down. If Matt Hasselbeck gets going, this game might be an embarrassing one to watch.
If the Jaguars want to beat the Colts today, they can not be abused by Matt Hasselbeck.