In Week 6, the Indianapolis Colts will play the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams will enter the game at 3-2, and the winner will have sole possession of the AFC South lead. These two teams met in Indy in Week 1, and the Jaguars won 31-21. The second matchup is in Jacksonville, which means the Jaguars have an advantage.
Jacksonville doesn’t just have an advantage because it’s the home team, it has an advantage because the Colts haven’t won on the road against the Jaguars since 2014. Indy has lost its last eight matchups as the road team against Jacksonville; that includes a 2016 game in London. Here’s what Indy needs to do to snap that streak on Sunday.
3. Colts must win the mental battle
The diehard Colts fans know the demons the team constantly battles playing in Jacksonville. As stated, the franchise has not won in Jacksonville since 2014— that’s almost a decade. The team got some much-needed confidence by defeating a Tennessee Titans team that has dominated them the past couple of years.
Steichen has been able to instill a boost of self-confidence to not only team but to the entire organization. This team is more polished than they were in Week 1 and it has been evident so far this year that these divisional games are paramount to the season and being able to control their own destiny in the AFC South.
2. Indy’s secondary has to contain Calvin Ridley and Co.
The weakness of this team this season has been the secondary coverage of the team’s top receiver. Calvin Ridley torched the Colts in Week 1 with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. If Indy wants any chance of winning this game, they must contain him better this time around.
A lot has changed since Week 1 in the Colts secondary. Darrell Baker Jr. and Dallis Flowers will not be handling him this time around. Expect rookie JuJu Brents to have the assignment of covering Ridley this time around. Coverage of the other receivers Christian Kirk and (potentially) Zay Jones won’t be an easy task either for veteran Kenny Moore II and rookie Jaylon Jones.
1. Colts must control time of possession
Without Anthony Richardson under center this week expect Indy to look a lot like they did in that final drive against Tennessee. It was a 15-play, eight-minute clock-bleeding drive. Gardner Minshew isn’t as mobile as Richardson, and won’t take the deep shot as much Richardson would either. We’ll likely see a lot of short, quick throws and spacing amongst the pass catchers to accentuate Minshew’s strengths, which are accuracy and game management.
The Jaguars are coming off two straight weeks in London and there might a be a bit of jetlag on their end. With jetlag comes fatigue and being able to control the time of possession on offense will allow them wear down the Jaguars defense and keep Trevor Lawrence and company off the field.