Indianapolis Colts (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 9:30AM EST
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: IND -2.5/JAC +2.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars meet in AFC South action from Wembley Stadium on Sunday morning. The game begins at 9:30AM Eastern, as both teams face a tricky trans-Atlantic road game. The Jaguars have to drag themselves to England after falling to a demoralizing 0-3, following a 19-17 loss Sunday on a late Baltimore FG. The Colts also had a dramatic game on Sunday, but it went their way, as Andrew Luck connected with TY Hilton on a 63-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left to beat the Chargers, 26-22, for their first win of the season.
The Colts really needed the win against the visiting Chargers and were fortunate to have gotten it. Against a team that plays assertively with the lead, the story could have been different. But against the perpetually-collapsing Chargers, you could almost sense that when Andrew Luck took the field for the final drive, he was going to find a way to get it done. It was the galvanizing type of win that could have the Colts in good shape moving forward. At 0-2 after two games, they are now a win over the Jaguars from being even-Steven on the season.
For the Jags, the situation has gotten ugly. Three Baltimore turnovers in the 4th quarter couldn't even get this team to a win. You don't see a lot of trailing teams give up the ball three times in the 4th quarter and still manage the win, but that's what the Ravens did against the long-suffering Jaguars. This was supposed to be a season of improvement for the Jaguars, with some even identifying them as a dark-horse, of sorts. But it hasn't taken flight this season. After keeping Green Bay close in a week one home loss, they were decimated by the Chargers, before finding a way not to beat the Ravens at home on Sunday.
We always talk about all the promising pieces on the Jaguars offense—the young QB, the promising receiving package, a good tight end, an improving run-game, and so on. At the end of the day, it never really seems to amount to a whole lot, does it? In week two against the Chargers, they managed two 4th-quarter garbage touchdowns. Against Baltimore and at home, Blake Bortles threw a pair of touchdowns to Allen Robinson, with a field goal comprising the totality of their scoring on Sunday. And they really do have an aerial package that should thrive, but there seems to be a strange disconnect between their potential and the ability to make it happen on the field. Interceptions certainly don't help, as Bortles threw 3 of them against the Ravens and already has six on the young season. Injuries have already compromised their offensive line, as they were forced to shuffle a lot of pieces around on Sunday. Things are not looking up for the Jacksonville offense.
The defense tried to help on Sunday, but the Jaguars' offense let them down. Three takeaways in the final quarter put the other side of the ball in position to surge, but it wasn't meant to be. They held Baltimore to a respectable 283 total yards on offense. Tashaun Gipson and Paul Posluszny each recorded interceptions. And following a first-quarter touchdown, they kept Baltimore out of the end zone for the duration of the game. They could use less miscues, as some particularly bone-headed penalties aided Ravens' drives on Sunday. It's just a hard time to have to pick up and go to London for this bunch, as they enter week 4 with no wind in their sails after the first three weeks.
The Colts hung in there against a dangerous Chargers team on Sunday. They gave up a lot in spots, but were able to manage the damage, as San Diego threatened to open the game up after a slew of Indy mistakes put them in bad position time and again. The Chargers couldn't put the Colts away and that's bad news with Andrew Luck being one of the more resilient quarterbacks in the game, a player who relishes being put in a big ol' jam. He made his share of mistakes on Sunday, but when it counted, he came through big. Luck threw a pick and coughed up the ball, but was able to atone for it all in the end. Luck threw for 331 yards and got a nice assist from Frank Gore, who ran for 82 yards and a touchdown. Hilton was huge with 182 yards on the day including the late dramatics. Without the turnovers, the penalties, and the lousy third down conversion rate (they only converted two on Sunday), the offense could start getting into gear soon. It didn't help that they lost number-two receiver Donte Moncrief, who will be out until early November.
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The Indy defense wasn't great against San Diego, but they hung in there and delivered in key moments. For Indy, that will work. This isn't going to be a premier defense any time soon. They're going to give up chunks of yards and sometimes look downright vulnerable. But on Sunday, they did some of the things that can make it tolerable. They tightened-up when San Diego got into the red zone, allowing one TD in four red zone visits for the Chargers. And when San Diego tried to rally late, the Indy defense didn't do like what the Chargers' defense does and wait for the roof to collapse, they made plays. Two late turnovers sealed it for the home team.
These are tough games to call in London, but the Jaguars are accustomed to this spot with this being their fourth consecutive annual visit across the pond. They suffered sound losses in their first two games to the 49ers and Cowboys, before scoring a 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills last season. There could be a slight edge to Jacksonville with the familiarity-factor. But other than that, the picture is bleak for the Jags. And I don't see Indy blowing this chance to get back to even on the season. I'm taking the Colts.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Indianapolis Colts minus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Colts vs. Jaguars at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!