Past Expert Picks
Let’s set aside the widespread notion that Jacksonville already has decided to tank this season. NFL teams don’t think that way. The Jaguars, for example, unloaded running back Leonard Fournette because he underperformed. They are the largest underdog of the weekend and one of few teams welcoming fans into their stadium. New/old Indy quarterback Philip Rivers rues not having exhibition games to get acclimated. Though an accomplished veteran, he showed slippage with the Chargers. His best blocker, All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson (back), is ailing.
I love finding a reason to take ugly 'dogs early in the season, when we know little about how the season is going to unfold. Yes, Jacksonville is going to be bad, but I don't see signs they'll be historically bad, not with a capable OC in the fold in Jay Gruden. But this line assumes not only that the Jaguars will be terrible, but that the Colts will also be great. Are we sure that's the case? Philip Rivers struggled last year with the Chargers, and he doesn't have a vast stable of pass-catchers at his disposal here. I also have some questions about the Indy secondary and think Gardner Minshew can storm though the back door late if needed.
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville | 09/13 | 5:00 PM UTC
These two teams couldn't be headed in different directions as this season kicks off. Indianapolis looks like one of the more complete teams in the AFC, with Super Bowl aspirations. The Jaguars on the other hand resemble a team that's planning for 2021. With that being said, I don't think Jacksonville will be a complete pushover in this game. The Jags do have some talent, and I believe they will start with a bang, making bettors sweat in the first half. However, the better team will eventually start to pull away comfortably in the second half.
Jacksonville is going to have some fans in the stands and the Jaguars are getting a whole bunch of points against a Colts team they're 8-1-1 ATS against in the last 10 meetings, including a Jaguars' 38-20 Week 17 win last season. That was two weeks after they won the last game played in Oakland. Gardner Minshew proved he can make plays in the NFL last season and also take care of the ball (only six interceptions). They’ll have an easier run at cohesion while Philip Rivers and his old ways may have a tougher transition. Jaguars to cover.