D’Qwell Jackson is coming off a career year and anchors a Colts defense that could find itself in a fair number of shootouts this season.
Season Win Total odds have held steady with the Colts throughout summer and into the start of training camp. Andrew Luck appears to be 100-percent and the focus this season is keeping him healthy as the Colts look to retake their throne atop the AFC South.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 8-8 SU and 8-8 ATS
Over/Under: 8-8 O/U
Noteworthy: Since Luck began his career with the Colts, he’s had 27 different starters in front of him on the offensive line. LT Anthony Castonzo returns this year along with Jack Mewhort, and rookie Ryan Kelly is expected to start at center.
In a league where player safety has risen to a paramount concern the past four years, it appeared as if Colts QB Luck somehow missed a memo. Luck was brutalized in 2015 behind an offensive line that ranked 20th overall through the first eight weeks. The net result was turnovers, poor field position and a slew of upper body injuries to the starting QB that ended his season following a gritty, Week 9 win over the Broncos.
Indianapolis selected a starting center with their first round pick and drafted three more O-Linemen to create depth. O-Co Rob Chudzinski was one of few coaches that held onto thier position and he’ll team with former Dolphins HC Joe Philbin to try and refocus the offense. Philbin is in charge of the offensive line. The scheme will be designed to keep the QB upright but it will be up to Luck to start making better decisions with the football.
On defense, the Colts don’t have the look of a conference contender. LB D’Qwell Jackson is a playmaker in the middle that ranked second in the NFL in tackles. He’ll need better work from the front line clogging up the run lanes. The Colts D were 22nd in RYPC and 19th in third down conversions but if they can can force opponents into more third and longs, it will give the the secondary more freedom to blitz.
Indy has an alright start to the schedule but their Week 4 road game is in London and then in Week 5, the Colts are back in action vs. the Bears. Usually teams off London get a bye but the Colts will wait until Week 10 for their break. How they play in the final seven weeks will determine thier playoff fate.
COLTS BOTTOM LINE: BACK ON TRACK
The Colts had dominated Jacksonville for years with Luck under center but late last year, with Luck out and Hasselbeck filling in, the Jags took full advantage. Week 14, 2015, Blake Bortles tossed a trio of TD passes in a 51-16 domination. The win not only ended Jacksonville’s five-game skid vs. the Colts, it also ended a 16-0 SU (14-2 ATS) streak for Indy vs. AFC South rivals that dated back to Luck’s rookie season.
When a team is seeking revenge from a previous season loss and they had previously dominated this opponent, it’s not a shock to see a short dog line or even road faves. In the past 20-some plays, nearly 70-percent of the road teams have covered and half the covers were by at least a TD. Circle Week 4’s game against the Jags as a potential play and if the spread is too great, perhaps a teaser will be in order.