(8-5, 9-4 ATS)
(7-6, 6-6-1 ATS)
We’ll have a playoff atmosphere at Lucas Oil Field on Sunday afternoon, as NFL betting fans will get to sink their teeth into this crucial duel between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags know that a win in this one will end all of the drama, as the AFC South will be won. Truth be told, Head Coach Jack Del Rio could care less whether his team is the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, and he could really care less who he plays in the first round of the playoffs either. The key is just going to be getting there, something that could still be done with a loss to the Colts, but would be significantly more difficult. Rumblings about RB Maurice Jones-Drew being an MVP candidate are starting to sound more and more legitimate when you look at the numbers. The little man out of UCLA has 1,278 yards on the ground, and thought he isn’t ultimately scoring too many touchdowns, he is pacing the league’s No. 2 rushing attack at 157.2 yards per game. MJD already has 316 touches this year and is just 16 carries away from having 300 for the campaign. It also helps that QB David Garrard is having the best season of his career. This is the first time that he has hit the 20+ TD barrier, and he still has three games to improve upon that. Garrard knows that it’s not about the yards, as he is one of the few full-time signal callers that probably won’t reach 3,000 yards on the year, but it is about taking care of the football. He has a 20/12 TD/INT ratio this year.
For Indy, this is the game that you’ve been waiting for on the slate. The Colts knew since way back when the Jags beat them in the Sunshine State, that this would be the crucial game. No, it isn’t one that can put Jacksonville away, but it is certainly one that can crush its spirit. Though few people are mentioning this like it is even a possibility, a loss on Sunday would officially eliminate QB Peyton Manning and company from the second season. That didn’t even seem like the remotest of possibilities at the outset of the season, but one slip up here at home would end the dream of winning the AFC again and going back to the Super Bowl. The weight of the world is on Manning’s shoulders, as we already know that his running game really isn’t worth much. Indy ranks dead last in the league in rushing and is first in passing. Manning has already slung the rock 570 times on the year, putting him on pace to break Drew Bledsoe’s record for attempts in a season of 691. He’ll also probably break QB Drew Brees’ mark of 440 completions in a season, and could become the third man to throw for 5,000 yards and might threaten QB Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 passing yards in a season to boot.
Is it really conceivable to think that the Indianapolis dynasty is over? We tend to believe that this team just isn’t that good, and if you reversed roles for a second, you would see a significantly different line on the board than what you have now. If you want to beat the NFL odds with the Colts, you’re paying a premium to do so. Instead, take the better choice and hope that Jacksonville can at least keep this one close, if not win it outright.
Pro Football Free Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5