The Washington Times-Herald

December 30, 2011

The Colts v. Jags - A Preview for Sunday's game

By Tom James, Tribune Star
The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The game -- Indianapolis Colts (2-13, 1-3 AFC South) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11, 2-3 AFC South), EverBank Field (Grass), Jacksonville, FL, 1 p.m. (EST).

Coverage ­ CBS Sports (Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein); Colts Radio Network (Bob Lamey, Will Wolford, Kevin Lee); Sirius NFL Radio Channel 113 (Colts), Channel 112 (Jaguars); XM NFL Radio Channel Channel 233 (Jaguars).

The coaches -- Colts: Jim Caldwell (26-21, 3rd year); Jaguars: Mel Tucker (1-3, 1st year). Jim Caldwell has a 3-2 career coaching record against the Jaguars. Tucker is Jacksonville¹s interim head coach and has never faced Indianapolis in his current role.

The series -- 22nd regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 15-6. The Jaguars have posted wins in two of the last three matchups. Indianapolis, though, has won four of the past six and six of the past 10 meetings. The Colts have a 7-3 record against Jacksonville in road games. Six of the last eight games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by 10 points or less. Eight of the last eight matchups have been decided by 14 points or less. Jaguars PK Josh Scobee has provided the margin of victory for Jacksonville in three of the series meetings (53 yards with 0:38 left on 10/24/04; 51 yards with 0:04 left on 9/21/08; and 59 yards with 0:05 left on 10/3/10).

Noting it ­ QB Dan Orlovsky has completed 34-of-58 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions over the past two weeks in wins over Tennessee and Houston. Orlovsky has a 95 passer rating in fourth quarter as a Colts starter in 2011ŠRB Joseph Addai had two rushing touchdowns in his last meeting at JacksonvilleŠWR Reggie Wayne needs 113 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the eighth consecutive season. Wayne has 887 receiving yards this seasonŠWayne has caught two touchdown passes in his last two games, wins over AFC South rivals Tennessee and HoustonŠWR Austin Collie has hauled in four touchdown receptions in his past four meetings with the JaguarsŠDE Robert Mathis has registered three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his last two gamesŠMathis needs 1.5 sacks to reach 10 for the fifth time in his NFL career.

Did you know? ­ With Minnesota winning last Saturday against Washington, it's down to Indy and the Rams as to who will get the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft. But draft positioning is the farthest thing from the mind of the Colts.

Did you know 2? ­ The Colts have never been swept by an AFC South opponent since the division came into existence in 2002. The Titans and Texans fell the last two weeks and Jacksonville is up next.


Did you know 3? ­ WR Pierre Garcon needs 75 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his NFL career. Garcon has six touchdown receptions this year, which ties his single-season best (2010).

Did you know 4? ­ DE Dwight Freeney has recorded nine career sacks against Jacksonville. DE Robert Mathis is aiming for his third straight game with a sack against the Jaguars.

Stat of the week ­ Reggie Wayne has 1,599 receiving yards against the Jaguars, the most against any opponent.

The game plan --  Finish. That's the goal heading into the Jacksonville game on Sunday.

Finish with a sweep of AFC South teams after knocking off Tennessee and Houston the last two weeks. Finish on offense when you're in the red zone.

Find a way to punch the ball into the end zone. And finish on defense. Finish the turnaround that started in the second half of the loss to Baltimore.

Simply put, the Colts must be able to have a sustained running game while taking advantage of passing situations. Defensively, Indianapolis has to be able to slow down the Jaguars running game. And they must find a way to force mistakes by a rookie quarterback.

Key matchups --  Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. the Jaguars secondary. Wayne usually plays well against Jacksonville and he has played well over the last two weeks in wins over the Titans and Texans. Depending on how his offseason contract negotiations go, Sunday's game with the Jaguars could very well be Wayne's last in an Indianapolis uniform.

Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert vs. the Colts' pass rush. Indianapolis didn't do a bad overall job against Gabbert earlier in the season, although there were some crucial breakdowns in the second half of that game that allowed the rookie signal caller to break free of the pocket and make some plays downfield. That can't happen on Sunday.

Colts run defense vs. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew is considered to be the best running back that Indianapolis' defense faces on a regular basis. He has been tough for the Colts to stop completely. They've slowed him down some on occasion, but Indianapolis -- who came very close to drafting Jones-Drew in 2006 and teaming him with RB Joseph Addai -- has yet to completely shut him down.