The Jaguars are set to host the Colts on Sunday at 1 pm for their 2020 season opener. Both teams have a clean slate after failing to reach the playoffs in 2019. Let's dive into this week one divisional matchup!
Jags Struggles vs Rivers
The Colts signed free agent Philip Rivers this offseason to a one year, $25 million deal. He joins them after spending the first 16 years of his career with the Chargers. During his time with the Chargers, Rivers was a Jaguar killer, winning seven of his nine matchups with the Big Cats, many in convincing fashion.
Colts Struggles in Season Openers
For as poor as the Jaguars have been against Philip Rivers, the Colts have been even worse on opening weekend. Indy has dropped nine of their last ten season openers...
Colts Struggles in Jax
They've also not beaten Doug Marrone's Jaguars inside the confines of The Bank. Marrone is 3-0 against the Colts in Jacksonville. Even more startling, the Colts have not emerged victorious over the Jaguars in Duval County since 2014, Blake Bortles' rookie year.
Jags 8 Point Home Dogs
The Jaguars are the biggest home underdogs of week one. At +8, many are expecting a blow-out performance from the Colts. Indianapolis throttled Jacksonville 33-13 in the first contest between the two teams last year, but Nick Foles was under center for the Jaguars in that one. Outside of that performance, the Colts haven't beaten the Jaguars by more than three points in the Doug Marrone era.
Gardner Minshew is 1-0 Against the Colts
Revenge for the Colts? The Jaguars ended the Colts' 2019 campaign on a sour note during the final game of the season, outscoring the Colts 22-0 en route to a 38-20 victory. That was Minshew's first start against the Colts, and the last game either team has played. The Colts will undoubtedly be out to settle the score in this one.
DeForest Buckner: Game Changer
The Colts traded their 2020 first-round pick for DeForest Buckner this offseason. The former 49er helped lead the San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. The interior defensive lineman is excellent against the run and knows how to get after the passer as well. He's racked up 22 sacks (including the playoffs) in the last two seasons.
The Winner Will be in First Place in the AFC South
Plain and simple – whichever team wins this one, will be in control of the AFC South. They could be tied at the top, if the Titans beat the Broncos, but having a division win will leave whoever wins this one in the driver's seat to start the season.
Jaguars need young players to step up.
The Jaguars will be relying on plenty of youth in this one. Starting at running back is undrafted rookie James Robinson. At outside cornerback, the Jaguars are starting rookie CJ Henderson. While DaVon Hamilton, K'Lavon Chaisson, and Laviska Shenault might not be starting, they'll have important roles to play. The Jaguars need their rookies to play well.
Is the Offensive Line Actually Better?
We're finally going to get some answers on this front. Jay Gruden, Doug Marrone, and the like have all raved about the offensive line's improvement. They have another year of continuity together – all five starters returned from 2019 – and are another year more familiar with their position coach George Warhop. They've looked good in camp, but you can only glean so much when players aren't taking live reps. We'll start to understand just where this group is at come Sunday.
The Jaguars are NOT Tanking
From an outside perspective, it's not hard to understand why someone might think the Jaguars are tanking in 2020. But for the men in that locker room and on the coaching staff, that line of thinking couldn't be more wrong. Doug Marrone and quarterback Gardner Minshew both acknowledged that if this team doesn't win games in 2020, they won't have jobs. Tanking? Not in Duval.
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