Some things to consider as we approach tonight’s game between the Colts and Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville:
Coverage issues: The Colts have survived a lot of injuries that have too often been bunched up at the same position. That’s the case now at corner, where starters Jerraud Powers (toe) and Vontae Davis (knee) are out. Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars' passing offense simply have to push the ball downfield more than they have to try to take advantage of replacements Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler and third-corner Josh Gordy. Andrew Luck is likely to do a better job picking at Jacksonville’s coverage deficiency. Safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) remains out and replacement Chris Prosinski is simply not a starting-caliber player. Corner Rashean Mathis is questionable with a groin injury.
Pressure: Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey said of Luck: “You can make anybody look like a rookie quarterback with a few hits.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not accurate with regard to Luck, who’s taken his share of shots and played just fine after them.The Jaguars rushed the passer pretty well for a couple of weeks, but faded again last week in the loss to Detroit. They have just eight sacks in eight games. On the other side, Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is a key to maximizing pursuit of Gabbert, but he’s questionable with a back injury. Even if he starts, will his back be a factor? If he can get a sack, it’ll be his ninth consecutive game with a quarterback takedown.
Rematch: A refresher on the first meeting of the teams, which was the Jaguars' lone win of the season so far. The Jaguars rallied back from an 11-point halftime deficit to pull ahead in the fourth quarter. But Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining looked like the back-breaker. On the first play after a touchback, Gabbert zipped a pass to Cecil Shorts who split the safeties and ran to a game-winning touchdown with 45 seconds left. If it weren't for that play, the Jaguars might be winless and the Colts could be 6-2.
Other things to know: The Jaguars have lost eight of their past nine prime-time games, including three against the Colts, but Jacksonville has won its last three games against Indianapolis. The Jaguars are 0-4 at home, having been outscored by a total of 92 points in those games. …The teams have played three common opponents. Against Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago, the Colts are 3-0 and the Jaguars are 1-2. … The Jaguars rank second in the NFL with 46 penalties and they’ve not been called for an illegal contact penalty on defense or a delay of game penalty on offense. They have only one offside penalty, the second-fewest in the NFL. ... The Colts have started the same lineup on offense just twice and the same lineup on defense three times. The Jaguars have had a different starting lineup on offense in all eight games and have started the same defense in back-to-back games only once.