Welcome to Big Cat Country’s weekly roundtable, where our staff (with a new addition!) previews each Jacksonville Jaguars game and makes picks for each NFL game. The Jaguars are favored by 4 points against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6, according to our pals at DraftKings Sportsbook.
What are your expectations for Gardner Minshew in his return to Jacksonville?
Dillon Appleman: I don’t see the “revenge game” label changing anything about what we typically see from a Gardner Minshew performance. Expect a heavy dose of RPO concepts with an emphasis on getting the ball out of Minshew’s hands quickly. I’m assuming we’ll see less Minshew Magic and more Minshew Management in this one.
Caitlin Connor: I’m expecting Minshew to rely heavily on making plays with his feet and the run game. The Colts said they were increasing Jonathan Taylor’s snap counts this week to prepare him for Sunday. I don’t think the Jaguars' defense will allow Minshew a lot of time in the pocket.
Justin Cross: My expectations for Minshew are that he’s going to play scrappy, get the ball out quickly, and make a lot of off-schedule plays. The Jags’ defense is going to have to remain disciplined, but as Doug Pederson said on Wednesday, they have a lot of tape on Minshew to work off of. The defense has shown up in every game thus far, and I think they’ll be ready to go for Minshew — especially since they’ll have all week to prepare, as opposed to an in-game change where he comes off the bench.
Jefferson Gibson: While Minshew’s record at Jacksonville was not the best, he was definitely a fan favorite for all of Jaguars faithful. I expect a warm welcome from the fans, but not so much from the defensive line. We know Minshew’s ability to lead and motivate a team. As long as the Jaguars can get out to an early lead and create long third downs, he’ll have a tough Sunday in the Bank.
Joseph Henry: I expect Minshew to have a pretty solid day with a handful of mistakes. The Jaguars' defense has really started to hit their stride over the last two weeks. Minshew will manage the game well, but he will ultimately lack elite pass-catching weapons and the ability to stretch the field for big plays.
Travis Holmes: I expect an up-and-down day for Minshew on Sunday. So far, in his equivalent of two full games played, Minshew has thrown zero interceptions and has zero fumbles lost. I foresee that changing on Sunday.
Gus Logue: Jacksonville loads the box at the second-highest rate in the league, per Sports Info Solutions. That won’t change this week against the Colts with Jonathan Taylor in and Anthony Richardson out. I expect the Jaguars to play Minshew like they would any other quarterback his caliber -- aggressively, with a mindset of stifling plays before they begin. Not expecting a fun return for 15.
Adam Snowden: First, I expect some cheers for our mustached, jorts-wearing, hand-hammering, ex-Jacksonville favorite. Next, I expect Minshew to play with a chip on his shoulder and complete some nice 15- to 20-yard passes to Josh Downs and Michael Pittman. I also expect one turnover courtesy of the Jags' defense. Ultimately, I expect Minshew to be outplayed by the golden child of Jacksonville in a closer-than-we-would-like shootout.
Henry Zimmer: I expect Minshew to be serviceable and throw the ball around to decent impact, but I can’t imagine him being the force multiplier that elevates the Colts to a victory. He probably hits somewhere in the range of 175 yards, a touchdown pass, and a pick or two but can’t create any “Minshew Magic.”
What do you expect to go differently in this game compared to Week 1?
Dillon: I’m expecting a faster start for the Jags offense for sure. In Week 1 at Indy, Jacksonville scored on just one of their first four possessions and looked pretty out of sync in the process. With the offense finally finding its stride of late, it would be nice to see them set the tone as they look to take sole possession of the AFC South on Sunday.
Caitlin: I’m hoping the offense plays more in rhythm than in Week 1. I think we’ve seen glimpses of the potential of the offense, but they’re starting to work better together, and leaving fewer points on the field.
Justin: I expect the Jags’ offense to look more cohesive. The Colts' defense is currently near the very bottom of the league in pass defense and total defense. Jacksonville scored 31 last time but left points on the board. The offense looked very smooth but had trouble capitalizing in the red zone against the Bills. I think the Jags are capable of putting up a big number on Sunday if they can keep improving on offense against an inferior defense.
Jefferson: In Week 1’s win, Jacksonville held Indianapolis to a pitiful 65 rushing yards as a team. I expect this week to go a lot different with Jonathan Taylor's addition, Zack Moss running well, and a reinspired Colts offensive line. The Jaguars have proven they can stop the run before and will need to show up on Sunday in order to sweep the series.
Joseph: The Colts’ improved ground game will be the biggest difference on Sunday compared to Week 1. Sure, the threat of Anthony Richardson running the ball is off the table, but Zack Moss was nothing short of incredible last week and Jonathan Taylor could see more touches in his second game back this season. Jacksonville held Buffalo to just 2.1 yards per carry, so I think they are up to the task of slowing Indianapolis down, but the Colts’ backfield is healthy and very dangerous.
Travis: In Week 1 against Anthony Richardson, the Jaguars’ defensive strategy seemed to be a “mush rushing” group, which resulted in some struggles in slowing down quarterback runs in the RPO run game action. With Richardson now out, I expect the Colts to run less RPOs and instead push a more efficient passing game in the short area, while running crossers - strengths of Minshew. Matched up against a two-headed backfield and an efficient quarterback, I expect the Jaguars’ defense to have slightly more (i.e., different) struggles than in Week 1.
Gus: Minshew doesn’t worry me but I’m interested to see the difference in Indy’s running back room. The Colts will now have Jonathan Taylor (2021 NFL rushing leader) and Zack Moss (third in rushing this season) instead of Deon Jackson, who started Week 1 against the Jaguars and recorded 13 carries for 14 yards with two lost fumbles.
Adam: Jags will be playing on their home turf, where the Colts have not won since 2014. This makes a difference. However, the most notable difference will be a new offensive line, with Walker Little and Ben Bartch swapped for Cam Robinson and Tyler Shatley. The Jags’ matchup in the trenches against an above-average Colts front will be a key matchup for this game.
Henry: The Colts are going to attack the run game with their backup quarterback and Jonathan Taylor back in the lineup. They will certainly reach more than the 65 yards they got in Week 1. Only 25 of those yards came by running backs, so I would expect that number to be much higher in Week 6.
Final score prediction?
Dillon: Jaguars 29, Colts 17
Caitlin: Jaguars 28, Colts 10
Justin: Jaguars 38, Colts 21
Jefferson: Jaguars 27, Colts 20
Joseph: Jaguars 30, Colts 16
Travis: Jaguars 27, Colts 20
Gus: Jaguars 23, Colts 13
Adam: Jaguars 34, Colts 20
Henry: Jaguars 27, Colts 17
Here are our staff’s Tallysight picks for the full slate of games this week.
What are your Week 6 predictions, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!