Colts vs. Jaguars Odds & Pick: Expect Indy To Take it Slow vs. Jacksonville (Sept. 13)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: TY Hilton
- The Indianapolis Colts head to Florida as 8-point favorites to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the total sitting at 45 points.
- Should the Colts be such a big, road favorite in this Week 1 matchup?
- Phillip Kall takes a look at the showdown and delivers his top pick.
Colts vs. Jaguars Odds
Week 1 brings an AFC South matchup between the division favorite and the team projected to finish last.
The Colts have capitalized on their draft picks and cap space and added Philip Rivers in hopes he’s the missing link.
Only three years removed from a 10-point lead in the AFC Championship Game, the Jaguars seem to be ripping it down to the studs, as only five of the 22 starters are left. They’re the second-largest underdogs this weekend at +8.
Since 1990, only 12 times has a team been a home underdog of seven or more points in Week 1. Those teams covered the spread eight times. Let’s see if the Jaguars can make it nine out of 13.
The Colts focused on improving their offense this offseason, signing Rivers and drafting wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor early in the second round. Rivers and Pittman will have the opportunity to contribute right away, but a shortened offseason and no preseason games might make the first few weeks a bit of a learning curve.
Defensively, the Colts added DeForest Buckner to the interior of the line. Buckner was part of the elite front that led to San Francisco 49ers to their Super Bowl appearance, so his interior pressure should improve a pass defense that ranked 23rd in yards per pass attempt allowed.
However, the Colts will also need their defensive backfield to step up their game if they want to be like the 2018 pass defense that allowed the third-fewest passing touchdowns.
Early in the year, expect the Colts to focus on running the ball to give Rivers time to adapt to the offense at full game speed. Luckily, this will again play into the weaknesses of the opponent as the Jaguars ranked 28th against the run and 16th against the pass last year.
The Jaguars defense fell off the map last season, going from a top-five defense each season down to 21st in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed. One bright spot on this struggling defense was rookie Josh Allen. Despite playing only about 60% of snaps, Allen recorded 10.5 sacks, which ranked 14th.
To help Allen, the Jaguars spent their two first-round draft picks on cornerback C.J. Henderson and defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson. This should be a young defense that improves throughout the season.
This offseason tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. were brought in as reinforcement for this offense that’s now Gardner Minshew’s alone. Eifert has shown the ability to be a reliable target, especially in the red zone, while Shenault has been a hot fantasy name this offseason thanks to glowing reports from camp.
Shenault should line up in the slot, meaning he and Eifert will likely be the safety valves for Minshew.
The release of Leonard Fournette late in training camp sent a message to the NFL audience that the Jaguars are positioned to tank the season. However, the removal of a high-profile player can relieve play-callers of the pressure to get the ball to their star player and provide addition by subtraction.
With Fournette missing and Ryquell Armstead on the reserve/COVID list, the running back situation is uncertain, so the Jags will most likely look to lean on their passing game. This should play well as the Colts ranked 23rd against the pass compared seventh against the run.
I expect the Colts to control the game but play conservatively with their young wide receivers and a new quarterback. This should play out as a low-scoring game, and eight points is a lot to give in that situation — especially with a quarterback like Minshew, who has thrown 10 of his 21 touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
With all that said, give me the Jags to cover.
PICK: Jaguars +8 (down to +7)