JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars begin the post-bye week segment of the season Sunday in Indianapolis against the Colts and they will do so with Nick Foles under center for the first time since the season opener. Here are my four biggest keys for a Jaguars’ victory:
Get Foles going early
The last time Nick Foles threw a pass in a game, he connected with DJ Chark on a touchdown pass. He also broke his collarbone. Foles needs to feel confident in the collarbone, but the Jaguars shouldn’t bank on putting him under pressure too much. Even though I suspect that he will be just fine, some early passes that move the chains will be big for Foles and his teammates. If the Jaguars can jump out to an early lead with Foles distributing the football, the Jaguars could be off to a terrific post-bye start.
Take Brissett down
Colts head coach Frank Reich announced Friday that Jacoby Brissett would return to the lineup after missing the last game with a knee injury. We have seen the Jaguars, and other teams, get to Brissett and not bring him down. It will take more than just moving him off the spot to disrupt Brissett, who will be without his best receiver T.Y. Hilton, can keep plays alive. When the Jaguars defense gets to him, they must be sure to get Brissett on the ground.
While Leonard Fournette is off to a good start to the season, Marlon Mack is not far behind. Fournette has run for 831 yards while Mack has run for 753 yards. Like Fournette, Mack has six runs of 20 yards or more, but what he dos very well is find a few extra yards in the pile by moving laterally. Mack has been heavily relied on by the Colts. Only Nick Chub and Derrick Henry have carried the ball more often than Mack among AFC running backs. It’s and old-school mentality, but the Jaguars must stop the run.
The Jaguars defense has been inconsistent in forcing turnovers. It’s been feast or famine. I’m looking at the offense to take care of the ball. Some of that burden falls to Foles, but it’s on everybody to protect the football. The Colts are not a team with a track record of big offensive games this year. Indy averages just over 21 points per game. They have scored 30 points in a game only once this year (a 30-23 win over Houston) and have been held under 20 four times. Take away possessions and the Colts will wither on the vine.