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Next Man up for the Indianapolis Colts: An NFL Week 2 Preview

NFL Week 2 has arrived! The Indianapolis Colts played the Houston Texans to a tie in Week 1. Technically, the Colts broke their long opening weekend losing streak. But it felt like a loss last week. The excitement for a strong first week was deflated like a balloon. Poor redzone play calling and drops were the formula for destruction last week. Its early in the season but for Indianapolis, this is without question, a must win. Colts have not won in Jacksonville since 2014 and must exercise those demons to keep the season on track.

Indianapolis Colts Week 1 Recap

Jacksonville Jaguars Preview

The Jaguars opened the season with a 28-22 loss to the Washington Commanders on the road.  They are led by 2nd year quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and they get explosive RB Travis Etienne, who missed all of last season with a foot injury back. They have two new receivers in Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, who come over from Arizona and Las Vegas, respectively. On the defensive side of the ball they are led by edge rushers Josh Allen and #1 pick rookie Travon Walker. They also have a new coach in Doug Pederson, replacing Urban Meyer. 

Indianapolis Colts Preview

Indianapolis has not won in Jacksonville since 2014 and this is a "must win" game for them already early in the season. I think there is a bit of a mental block with them at this point, but the key will be getting off to a fast start and setting the tone with them. Indianapolis is notorious for slow starts, as shown last week with Houston. They must get out the gates fast and play sound, fundamental football. Colts have made a change in the special teams department this week. Rodrigo Blankenship was waived on Tuesday after kicking two kickoffs out of bounds and missing a game winning OT field goal. Blankenship has been inconsistent, and you can give some blame to Chris Ballard here on this.  He gave Blankenship no real competition in training camp and won the job easily. They have signed veteran Chase McLaughlin and rookie Lucas Havrisik to the practice squad to audition for the job. Both have big legs, but I think McLaughlin will win out and kick on Sunday. 

Injury Report

Frank Reich cancelled practice for Friday this week because he wanted two very physical practices on Wednesday and Thursday. So, Friday practice will be a walk-through and rest for an unexpected injury report.  Shaquille Leonard (back) and Alec Pierce (concussion) have been ruled out already. CB Kenny Moore, WR Micheal Pittman and DT DeForest Buckner are all questionable with injuries. These are big injuries for this team that already struggles with depth. "Next man up" has always been the Indianapolis Colts motto and will need to be preached now more than ever. 

Keys To The Game

With the Colts solidifying the kicking game (hopefully) I see a couple of keys to this game.  First, as mentioned above, will getting out to a fast start. Indianapolis always plays to up or down to the level of their opponents.  To keep that in check, they must get out and win the first quarter. Last year Indianapolis came out flat early and lost their playoff berth. Second key to the game will be winning 3rd down.  Jacksonville was 3/12 last week on 3rd down against Washington. They will not win the game with those kinds of numbers and will need to be proficient on getting Jacksonville to third and long. The third and final key will be the backups really stepping in and making a difference at the skill positions. WR Micheal Strachan and DT Dayo Odeyingbo will be names to watch in (potentially) some starters absences.

Gambling Picks

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+4)

I think the game will be a close one as it will be a playoff atmosphere in Jacksonville, although any ultimate betting guide to the 2022-23 season would not see anyone betting on Jacksonville. I think the overall talent with Indianapolis is superior but with so many questions on the injury report with the Colts, I will take the points.

Indianapolis Colts 27: Jacksonville Jaguars 24

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