As Week 6 kicks off, the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) look to continue riding high on their two-game win streak as they welcome in the Indianapolis Colts (3-2) to Everbank Field for a 1:00 P.M. divisional showdown.
The Colts have put together a strong start to their 2023 campaign winning their last three out of four games. However, playing in Jacksonville has been a bit of an “Achilles Heel”. Indianapolis losing their last eight matchups in “Jax” including the 26-11 Week 18 loss that knocked Indy out of playoff contention back in 2022.
To add insult to injury, the Colts will be without their 2023 first-round selection quarterback Anthony Richardson who was placed on the “Injury Reserved List” Wednesday morning. Richardson is expected to miss 4-8 weeks after picking up an AC Joint injury in last week’s overtime loss against the Los Angeles Rams.
With that being said, a familiar face for Jaguars fans, QB Gardner Minshew has been given the nod to start for the Colts while Richardson begins rehab. While with Jacksonville, Minshew threw for 5,530 yards, 46 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in his two-year stint having a 7-14 record as their starter.
Although it’s a reunion between Minshew and the Jaguars, be prepared for the run game to continue and dominate for the Colts. Indianapolis finally locked in star running back Jonathan Taylor on a three-year, $42 million contract extension that includes $26.5 million guaranteed after an ongoing contract dispute. During his absence, Zach Moss picked up the main workload for Taylor, rushing for 445 yards and 4 total touchdowns through the first five weeks of the season.
James Boyd of The Athletic reported earlier this week that the Colts plan to ramp up Taylor’s workload this weekend which creates a dynamic duo for the Colts who will try and crack the code against the stout Jaguars rush defense that allows only 81.6 yards per game.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, wide receiver Christain Kirk was quiet in the first meeting of the season between the two teams, only bringing in one catch for nine yards on three targets. With receiver Zay Jones officially out this week with a lingering knee injury, look for Kirk to bounce back against the Colts who will have their eyes set on slowing down superstar receiver Calvin Ridley who had over 100 yards and a touchdown in their Week 1 matchup.
The key to success this weekend for Jacksonville is to air out the ball against the Colts who allow 382.0 yards per game to their opponents. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence throwing for a season-high 315 yards last week in London versus the Buffalo Bills (3-2) needs to carry over from last week’s 25-20 nailbiter to get Jacksonville the win and move to 4-2, solidifying themselves as the true leader in the AFC South.
What To Watch:
- The return of Jaguars linebacker Dawaune Smoot who hasn’t played a game since Week 16 of last season after tearing his Achilles against the Jets on TNF.
- Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (thumb) could make a return after missing out on two two-week London trip.
- Jacksonville running back Travis Etienne could be utilized more in the receiving game.
- Colts running back Jonathan Taylor to receive an increased role in the Indianapolis offense.
- Indianapolis could be without starting center Ryan Kelly (ankle/foot) while also ruling out starting right tackle Braden Smith with a foot injury.