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Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9), 8:15 p.m. ET Thursday
In the first meeting between these teams at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Jaguars had a tremendous day rushing the football. They ran 48 times for 236 yards, crushing the Colts in time of possession, 41:35 to 18:25. But even the successful game of keep-away (find my account of that game here) was barely enough.
The Colts had a late touchdown drive that proved too efficient, and after Jacksonville got the ball back with 1:07 remaining, it moved 47 yards -- with the benefit of a penalty against Freddy Keiaho that provided a critical first down -- to set up Josh Scobee's last-second, 51-yard game-winning field goal. Final score: Jags 23, Indy 21.
Here's a handy game recap from nfl.com.
The Colts have fortified their run defense since then, and there is no way the Jaguars can come close to matching their effort in that game. Maurice Jones-Drew will get the bulk of the carries with Fred Taylor on IR.
Slowing the run, the Colts will put the game on David Garrard's shoulders. With limited weapons, he'll need time to find options and I suspect two guys just named to the Pro Bowl, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, are not going to give it to him.
A win for the Colts would clinch a playoff spot. In short-rest games between tired teams, the home team usually has an edge. But the Jaguars rallied to win Sunday against Green Bay, ending a four-game losing streak. That may prove to have been their last stand.
One matchup note: Jags cornerback Drayton Florence buried Indy tight end Dallas Clark with a shoulder-to-helmet hit that knocked him out of the game for a time. Perhaps the Colts will welcome any opportunity to be physical with Florence.