Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
SERIES HISTORY: 31st regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 21-9. Indianapolis has a 11-5 mark against the Jaguars in home games and are 10-4 on the road. The Colts have posted wins in six of the last seven meetings. Jacksonville, however, won the last matchup of the two franchises with a 51-16 blowout on their own field. Indianapolis has swept the AFC South series with the Jaguars six times (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014) while also splitting their series six times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015). Jacksonville has won the home-and-home series once (2011). The Colts are 6-1 against Jacksonville at the former Hoosier/RCA Dome and are currently 5-3 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis has won 10 of the 15 games played at the Jaguars' EverBank Stadium.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Jaguars are playing their fourth consecutive year in Wembley Stadium and it is the first trip for the Colts.
The Jaguars are stubborn about not to abandoning the running game despite having the second lowest total of rushing yards (165) in the NFL after three games, behind only Minnesota (153). This could be the week that the Jaguars top the 70-yard figure for the first time this season. Chris Ivory should be closer to full strength than he was a week ago and that gives Jacksonville two strong runners in Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.
However, the Colts permitted only 37 rushing yards in last week's win over the Chargers.
The game figures to match two of the better young quarterbacks in the league in Jacksonville's Blake Bortles and Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, although so far this season is redefining the term young at quarterback. Each passed for more than 800 yards in the first three games this year. Both could hit the 300-yard plateau this game, which may be fun for a crowd that is accustom to seeing the ball kicked around. The secondary does a better job in shutting down the opposing quarterback could decide this.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Jaguars secondary vs. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The Jaguars are still two starters short when they employ their nickel defense against strong passing teams like the Colts. Cornerback Prince Amukamara had a strong game in the season opener but has missed the last two with a nagging hamstring. Aaron Colvin was suspended the first four games of the season by the NFL (substance abuse) and will sit out his fourth game on Sunday. Luck is the fourth straight elite quarterback the secondary has faced thus far after going against Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco. The secondary hasn't been all bad as it held Rodgers to less than 200 yards and Flacco to 214. The Jaguars didn't face Luck last year as he was injured for both of their games.
--Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles vs. Indianapolis defense. There's little doubt that as Indianapolis continue to get defensive players back from injuries, the Colts defense is getting stronger. When a defensive unit allowed only two offensive touchdowns in the last two games (against Denver and San Diego), it is getting the job done. That's the same San Diego offense that scored five touchdowns, including four TD passes by Philip Rivers against the Jaguars the previous week. Safeties Clayton Geathers and T.J. Green have become an effective duo in shutting down passing attacks while cornerback Vontae Davis continues to fight through an ankle injury. Bortles passed for 843 yards in his first three games this year, but has more interceptions (6) than TDs (5).
INJURY REPORT: COLTS -- Out: CB Darius Butler (hamstring), OL Jonotthan Harrison (appendectomy), WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder). Questionable: WR Phillip Dorsett (ankle), T Denzelle Good (back), T Joe Reitz (back). JAGUARS -- Out: TE Ben Koyack (knee), DE Jared Odrick (tricep). Questionable: LB Dan Skuta (hip), TE Julius Thomas (elbow)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Colts OG Joe Haeg. The rookie from North Dakota State has become one of the Colts' better offensive linemen in a short amount of time. His versatility is impressive as Haeg can play both guards as well as right tackle. A tackle in college, Haeg shows the ability to slide inside to guard and not lose any of his effectiveness. He made his first NFL start in last week's win over San Diego, opening as the Colts first team right guard and then making the move out to right tackle when starter Joe Reitz was sidelined with a back issue.
FAST FACTS: Colts QB Andrew Luck was sacked 100 times in his first three seasons. In comparison, former Colts QB Peyton Manning was sacked 56 times in his first three. Luck has won his past five starts vs. Jacksonville, with 1,389 yards, eight TDs and two interceptions. ... Jags WR Allen Hurns has 14 catches, 221 yards and two TDs in his last two games vs. the Colts. ... Tight end Julius Thomas has five TDs in three games vs. Indy.
PREDICTION: The Jags may be familiar with Wembley Stadium, but the game is still American football and the Colts should give fans there a show on how the passing game works in the NFL.
OUR PICK: Colts, 32-21.