The Indianapolis Colts were expected to have a rebuilding year in 2012.
They finished the 2011 campaign with the worst record in the NFL, and started this season with a rookie at quarterback. With a first-year signal caller and head coach, they began the year with some of the worst Super Bowl odds of any team in football.
Halfway through the 2012 season, Indianapolis is one of the favorites to make the playoffs in the AFC. At 5-3, they currently hold the first wild card spot in the conference.
No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck has played like a veteran in his first season in the pros. He’s fourth in the league with 2,404 passing yards. Luck is tied with Peyton Manning, the man he replaced when the Colts drafted him.
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Perhaps the most impressive thing about Luck is how he’s performed at the end of games. In four of the Colts five wins, they were tied or trailing in the fourth quarter. Luck has shown a knack for playing well in the “clutch,” helping his team win close games.
Every one of Indianapolis’ victories has come by six points or less. Their only loss in a contest that was decided by one score came in Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Week 10, the Colts look to get revenge as they kick off the schedule on Thursday Night Football.
The AFC South matchup is set to kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET in Jacksonville on the NFL Network. You can watch a free live stream online at nfl.com/tnf. The site will provide live “look-ins” throughout the game.
Both teams are in the same division, but the contest shouldn’t have many playoff implications. The Houston Texans have a two-game lead over the Colts, and a six-game advantage over the hapless Jaguars.
For the second straight season, Jacksonville is one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their Week 3 defeat of the Colts is their only win on the year.
While the Colts young quarterback has adapted to the pros quickly, the Jaguars signal caller is still struggling in his sophomore campaign. Blaine Gabbert is 26th among starters with a 78.4 quarterback rating, and is the main reason why Jacksonville is dead last in the league in passing yards.
However, Gabbert may be entering Thursday’s game with some confidence. He’s 3-0 in his young career against the Colts.
The Jaguars have failed to be competitive in several of their games. Four of their losses have come by at least 17 points, and their opponents have scored 102 more points than them on the season.
Despite Jacksonville’s struggles, Las Vegas oddsmakers are still giving them a chance in this one. Indianapolis is just a three-point favorite, according to the consensus betting line.
Prediction: In order for the Jaguars to pull off the upset, their running game will have to make up for their subpar passing attack. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 177 yards in Jacksonville’s win over the Colts. He’ll be sidelined with an injury, and Rashad Jennings hasn’t been nearly as good as his replacement. The Colts haven’t been able to blow anybody out in 2012, but they are good enough to avoid being swept by a one-win Jaguars team.
Predicted Score: Indianapolis 23, Jacksonville 16