The Indianapolis Colts will be without some of their best players as they try to get a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
The Indianapolis Colts are in Jacksonville preparing to play the Jaguars in a Week 2 matchup. Both teams are seeking their first win of the season as Indy is 0-0-1 and the Jaguars are 0-1 after losing to the Washington Commanders in Week 1. At full strength, the Colts are a better team than Jacksonville but that doesn’t matter because the Jaguars always give Indy trouble and Indianapolis isn’t at full strength for this game.
The Colts will be playing this Week 2 matchup with several key players already ruled out and potentially more by the time kickoff arrives. Indy has already announced that Shaquille Leonard (back), Alec Pierce (concussion), and Michael Pittman Jr. (quad) will also miss the game. In addition to those three, DeForest Buckner and Kenny Moore, both dealing with hip injuries, are questionable and their statuses will be determined pregame.
Those are some of Indy’s biggest names, on both sides of the ball, so Sunday will be an opportunity for some young guys to step up, especially at wide receiver.
Young receivers must step up for Colts against Jaguars
Indianapolis has tremendous depth at linebacker, and the defense survived without Leonard in Week 1. Additionally, Indy is deep at defensive back, so there should be a solid replacement if Kenny Moore has to miss the game. If DeForest Buckner is out, it will be tough for the Colts but not as tough as it’s going to be at wide receiver.
The wide receiver group was already a major area of concern for Indianapolis and Pittman and Pierce being out, makes things even more troubling. Pittman is Indy’s clear No. 1 and that was evident against the Texans when he was targeted 13 times and caught nine passes for 121 yards. Although Pierce’s Week 1 performance wasn’t as impressive, he still has been a top-3 receiver for the Colts all offseason.
Their absence shifts pressure to guys like Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, and Mike Strachan. All three have flashed moments of production but they will be relied on heavily today and they must be ready if Indy is going to have any sort of passing game on Sunday.
For most teams, it probably wouldn’t matter if their top guys were out against the Jaguars because Jacksonville has been a struggling team the last few years. However, they rarely struggle against the Colts, especially in Jacksonville.
Colts must overcome injuries and Jacksonville curse
Indy hasn’t won in Jacksonville since 2014, and while the players try not to feed into that much, they know it’s a thing but no one knows why. As Michael DiRocco highlighted in the tweet above, the Jaguars lose to just about everybody except the Colts.
It’s still extremely early in the season, just the second game, so nothing is really a must-win, but it will be a really bad look for Indianapolis if they travel down to Jacksonville and leave without a victory, injuries or not. The Colts prepared this offseason to be a top-contending team. Starting the year unable to get a win against the Texans and Jaguars would be very un-contender like of them.