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Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: Sunday, December 2, 2018 @ 1 pm (TIAA Bank Field) 

Lines and Odds: Indianapolis (-4) v Jacksonville  Over/Under: 47

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The red-hot Indianapolis Colts head to north Florida to take on the ice-cold Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC South showdown. The Colts ride in with a five-game winning streak after downing Miami last week. The Jaguars look to salvage their season after falling to Buffalo.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts season looked like it was over going into Week 7. They just fell to the New York Jets and saw their record sag to 1-5. Then they shellacked the Buffalo Bills 37-5, igniting their five-game winning streak. That winning streak also featured a 29-26 win over the Jaguars in Week 10 and a Week 11 domination of Tennessee.

Andrew Luck continues to make his case for Comeback Player of the Year. Luck has been incredible since that loss to New York, as he’s thrown 16 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. The stand out stat, though, has to be his completion percentage during this streak. Luck has completed at least 70 percent of his pass attempts after that Jets game, including 81 percent against the Dolphins.

The Colts defense had a lot of holes to fill, especially on the defensive end. One area that they really seemed to get an improvement on is at linebacker. Rookie Darius Leonard is making his own case for an award: the Defensive Rookie of the Year. The second-round pick out of South Carolina State has racked up a league-leading 114 tackles so far, including six sacks. Leonard has also been a key factor on this Indianapolis defense by creating turnovers. He’s forced four fumbles and has picked a pass off. Obviously, the Colts still have a long way to go before they are true Super Bowl contenders. Rebuilding the defense around Leonard is a great place to start.

Jacksonville Jaguars

What the heck happened to the Jacksonville Jaguars? After finishing 13-3 and one game away from the Super Bowl, they have taken a step back in 2018. They have lost eight of their 11 games this season, including seven in a row. They’re battling with the Cardinals, 49ers, Raiders, and Giants for the 1st overall pick.

Part of the problem is that they have struggled to establish a run game. In 2017, Jacksonville had the best rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 141 yards per game. This year, the Jaguars have fallen to the middle of the pack, as their 114 yards per game is good for 16th. I will give them the benefit of the doubt because Leonard Fournette has been hurt to start the season. An aggravated hamstring has limited Fournette to just 5 games and 314 yards on the season.

The Jaguars still have a potent defense. They allow the sixth fewest yards and the eighth-fewest points per game. But there is something that this unit has failed to do, and that is to play more aggressively. Jacksonville finished 2017 with the second most sacks (55) and second most interceptions (21). This year, both totals have fallen way off. The Jaguars have just 21 sacks, which leaves them tied with Atlanta for 27th in the NFL. Their 8 interceptions are tied for 22nd. Calais Campbell continues to be a one-man wrecking crew. Jalen Ramsey locks in when the ball is in the air. But outside of these two, the Jaguars get nothing.

Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends

One would think that the Indianapolis Colts would be a sure thing in a bet with how well they’ve played lately. That isn’t necessarily the case. Indianapolis has gone 3-1-1 in their last five games against the spread overall, and have posted an identical record following straight up wins. By covering in 32 of their last 46 games against teams with losing records, the Colts obviously get the job against bad teams. One cause of concern is their inability to cover within their division. The Colts have gone 3-7-1 in their last 11 against AFC South opponents.

The Jacksonville Jaguars straight up losing streak is reflected in their latest record against the spread. Jacksonville has failed to cover in each of their last seven games, going 0-5-2. Like Indianapolis, Jacksonville has struggled in divisional play. The Jaguars have gone winless in each of their last four games against the AFC South. The one thing that Jacksonville has done well lately is carrying their running game over from one week to the next. The Jaguars have gone 5-1 against the spread after running for 150 or more yards the previous week. Good luck to them with that this week without Fournette.

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With two teams trending in different directions, you have to ride the hot hand. I take Indianapolis in this one. Luck has played out of his damned mind during this hot streak the Colts are on. The Jaguars have struggled to muster any sort of swagger on defense this year. They don’t run the ball nearly as well as they should. And without a strong running game, do you really trust Blake Bortles? I didn’t think so.

Pick: Indianapolis Colts -4

Adam Darling
Adam Darling
A New Englander transplanted to the Deep South, Adam goes all over the map for his teams. He recently finished his degree in journalism and history at the University of Maine and has featured on Eastern Bias and Casual Hoya to discuss Black Bear hockey and basketball. He hosted his own baseball talk show for WMEB 91.9 FM and has written and edited for The Maine Campus.