Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm (TIAA Bank Field)
The Line: Jacksonville Jaguars +8 -- Over/Under: 45 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars meet in an AFC South division matchup in week 1 NFL action from TIAA Bank Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Indianapolis Colts come into the 2020 season looking to rebound from a disappointing 2019 campaign that started with optimism after going 10-6 the year prior but Andrew Luck shocked everyone by retiring, leaving the Colts scrambling for a QB before settling on Jacoby Brissett. Brissett started 15 games, throwing for 2,942 yards with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, but it was clear to Indianapolis’ front office that Brissett was probably not the long-term option under center for the team, leaving the Colts to sign Philip Rivers. Rivers threw for 4,616 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, but the good news for the Colts is that they’re bringing in a QB that’s started all 16 games in every season since 2006, 224 straight regular season games with almost 60,000 career passing yards and 400 passing touchdowns. The Colts possess a stellar corps of running backs, led by Marlon Mack who rushed for almost 1,100 yards and a team-high 8 touchdowns last season. Nyheim Hines will be used as a receiving back while the Colts also used a draft pick on Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, bringing the perennial 2,000-yard rusher from the Badgers to Lucas Oil Stadium. T.Y. Hilton leads the receiving group with a hopefully healthy Parris Campbell and second-round draft pick Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC who is expected to be the physical receiver on the outside standing 6’4”. The Colts also brought in Trey Burton as a complimentary tight end option to Jack Doyle. Defensively, the Colts made a huge splash by acquiring DeForest Buckner via trade with the San Francisco 49ers as a combination with Justin Houston who recorded 11 sacks for Indianapolis last season. The secondary is still young but getting experience will help in the long-run. The Colts added former all-pro DB Xavier Rhodes to help bolster the secondary and bring valuable veteran presence to that part of the defense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars come into this season hoping to take another step in the right direction after improving on their win total in 2018, going from 5-11 in 2018 to 6-10 in 2019, but still missing the playoffs for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons. Gardner Minshew now has the controls of the Jaguars’ offense, one year removed from completing over 60% of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The Jaguars pushed all of their chips in on Minshew by getting rid of Nick Foles, shipping him to the Chicago Bears in the offseason. But it was more than just Foles that left as the Jaguars also cut bait with Leonard Fournette, letting him walk onto the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. DJ Chark is at least back to lead the Jags’ receiving group alongside draft pick Laviska Shenault. Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, Tyler Eifert and Keelan Cole are all in the mix as well to make life easier for Minshew in the Jaguars’ offense. Defensively, Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Marcell Dareus are all gone from last year’s unit, but Josh Allen is back after leading all rookies with 10.5 sacks last year and a pro bowl rookie season. The Jaguars brought in K’Lavon Chaisson with one of their first-round draft picks while Joe Schobert will work alongside Myles Jack in the middle tier of the Jacksonville defense as the starting linebackers. The Jaguars also took a huge gamble by investing a lot in #9 overall pick CJ Henderson, but Jacksonville’s banking on his ability at corner to replace what they lost in Jalen Ramsey and potentially blossom into a #1 and one of the game’s best cornerbacks.
Indianapolis is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games within the division while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road favorite. Jacksonville is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 week 1 matchups while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games against the AFC. Indianapolis is 1-8-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these two teams and 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams in Jacksonville.
I get that the Colts and Jaguars have quarterbacks that like to air it out, but I just get the feeling in week one that there’s going to be some adjustments made on the fly and that this ends up being more of a possession-based game and one that ends up being lower-scoring that one would think. I just think points are going to be hard to come by in this one, so I’ll side with the under as my free pick for this game, but my stronger play is on the side and I have that available as a premium pick that you can find here.