Welcome to Big Cat Country’s weekly roundtable, where our staff previews each Jacksonville Jaguars game and makes picks for each NFL game. The Jaguars are favored by 4.5 points against the Colts in Week 1, according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Which Jaguar will you be watching the closest in Week 1?
Dillon Appleman: I am absolutely zeroing in on Travon Walker in Week 1. After watching Aidan Hutchinson create consistent pressure off the edge for the Lions in their Thursday night win over Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, it would be a bad look if Walker came out and made little impact against a rookie quarterback. In year two of his development, I expect to see Walker being decisive at the point-of-attack and I need to see him out-physical his matchup regularly.
Simon Carroll: Has to be Calvin right? First game back after almost two years away from the game, Ridley has a serious point to prove - and he looks intent on proving it. I think the situation could see him go off big too; up against a suspect secondary in a road game against a divisional opponent. I expect Trevor Lawrence to get the ball in his hands on some quick throws early, then dial up some downfield daggers as the game progresses.
Caitlin Connor: I’ll be watching Calvin Ridley and Travon Walker the closest during week 1. I’m excited to see Ridley’s return and how Travon starts off his second season.
Mark Dhooge: I’ll be watching Trevor Lawrence the closest as he enters year two in Doug Pederson’s offense. How much control and command he shows on Week 1 against the Colts will go a long way in determining his 2023 season.
Joseph Henry: I’ll be watching Devin Lloyd a lot on Sunday. Many people have been raving about his improvement from last season already, but I’m not sold just yet. I need to see Lloyd play at a high level in the regular season before I can fully determine if he’s going to take that next step up during his second year. Facing a dual-threat quarterback like Anthony Richardson will stress the play of Jacksonville’s linebackers, and I hope to see that Lloyd is up to the test.
Travis Holmes: With the Jaguars’ defense showing a propensity to struggle versus RPO/running quarterback systems (see 2022 Jags-Eagles) my focus will be on DaVon Hamilton’s injury replacement, Adam Gotsis. If Jax allows Indy to play the RPO game and run the ball successfully, this will be a closer match than many are predicting.
Gus Logue: I’m trying to temper my expectations about Ridley’s return so my main focus will be Anton Harrison on Sunday. The rookie right tackle is also making his Jaguars debut with the team counting on good play from the jump. Harrison should benefit from a weak Colts defensive depth chart in Week 1, just like Ridley. Ugh fine you convinced me I’ll watch Rid.
Henry Zimmer: The Jaguar I will be watching the closest is Foley Fatukasi. He is practicing during the week but how much he will actually play will be interesting to see.
Will Anthony Richardson or Calvin Ridley have a more impressive debut?
Dillon: While Twitter will go crazy when Anthony Richardson inevitably has a 50-yard touchdown run to cut the Jaguars’ lead to 24, the clear answer here is Calvin Ridley. The Colts’ secondary is a mess and Ridley will be looking to prove something in his first game back in two years. I expect a big-time performance.
Simon: This is an interesting one. Richardson is raw and will have some tough moments in 2023. But when he has time to prepare he can be devastating - just go back to Week 1 against Utah last year, where he SHREDDED the Utes defense in just his second start, after the Gators had weeks to get him into the game script. I’m still gonna stick with Calvin because I believe his talent, experience and hunger will prevail. But AR5 undoubtedly brings the X-factor...
Caitlin: I think Calvin Ridley will have the more impressive debut. They both have high expectations, but I was more impressed by Ridley during the preseason than Richardson.
Mark: The NFL can be difficult for rookie QBs, especially in their first start. So I think Calvin Ridley will be more impressive in his debut. After what Ridley showed during the preseason, I don’t think it’ll take him long to regain his pre-suspension form.
Joseph: Ridley is going to feast on a Colts secondary that simply lacks the juice to contain him. I expect Pederson to find plenty of ways to get Ridley the ball early and often. Building strong, in-game chemistry between Trevor and Calvin right out of the gate should be a priority for Pederson and Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor.
Travis: Richardson will have some flashes, but will turn the ball over multiple times. I expect Calvin Ridley to put up over 120 yards and a touchdown versus the Colts, so I have to lean that way.
Gus: Most people wouldn’t expect either player to have a hot start in 2023, but most people haven’t paid enough attention to the summer No. 0 had.
Henry: Calvin Ridley will shine more than Anthony Richardson, as the Colts' offense will likely provide Richardson no favors.
Final score prediction?
Dillon: Jaguars 31, Colts 16
Simon: Jaguars 34, Colts 17
Caitlin: Jaguars 34, Colts 14
Mark: Jaguars 31, Colts 17
Joseph: Jaguars 34, Colts 20
Travis: Jaguars 33, Colts 27
Gus: Jaguars 34, Colts 17
Henry: Jaguars 35, Colts 13
Here are our staff’s Tallysight picks for the full Week 1 slate.
What are your Week 1 predictions, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!