Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
I was shocked that not only did the Colts beat the 49ers, but they beat them handily in San Francisco. Previously in the Andrew Luck era, they were sweating out close wins against bad teams and getting blown out by good teams, especially on the road. Last year, they played 7 games against teams who finished .500 or better. They went 3-4 in those games, which isn’t awful, but those wins came by 3, 3, and 12, while the losses came by 20, 35, 12, and 15. They went as good as their 11-5 record would have suggested last season, because of all of those blowout losses (plus a 35-9 loss to the freaking Jets!) and because they had 7 wins by 7 points or less against teams that won 7 or fewer games.
They were especially bad on the road last season, going 4-5 on the road with a point differential of -76 and an opponent’s overall record of 64-80. They didn’t really looked any better this season before last week, barely beating the Raiders at home and then losing to the Dolphins at home. However, unless the 49ers are significantly worse than we expect them to be, the Colts just blew out a good team on the road.
It’s very possible that was just an aberration. Yes, they did add Trent Richardson, but his impact (13/35/1) was minimal on that specific game. The reason they won last week is because they dominated the 49ers with their offensive line and secondary, which is something they had never really done before. I certainly see them as a better team as I did a week ago, but I’m not totally sold on them. What if they once again struggle to blow out an inferior opponent here in Jacksonville? The Jaguars beat the Colts by 3 and lost by 17 last season, meaning the Colts only outscored the Jaguars, on average, by 7 points per game last season. The Colts also only beat the 2-14 Chiefs by 7 in Kansas City last year. It shouldn’t surprise you if the same thing happens here.
The Colts are also in a bad spot coming off of a huge upset last week. Teams are 45-66 ATS since 1989 coming off of a win as double digit underdogs. I’m not that confident in Jacksonville for three reasons though. The first one is the possibility that the Colts are a legitimately improved team over last season and the first 2 weeks of this season. The second is the possibility that Trent Richardson has a huge game against a poor Jacksonville run defense and this time around becomes the reason why the Colts blow out an opponent. The third is just the possibility that the Jaguars are so terrible that the Colts won’t have to be an improved team to blow them out. I do feel Jacksonville is the right side though, with the Colts’ lack of a consistent history of blowing out inferior opponents, particularly on the road.
Indianapolis Colts 23 Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Pick against spread: Jacksonville +9