Like most Week 17 games, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ game against the Indianapolis Colts does not hold any playoff implications. Both teams are already eliminated from the playoffs. The only value this game holds is for the Buccaneers, as the Bucs need a Colts win, among five others, as well as a tie in the Redskins/Giants game in order to clinch a Wild Card spot. The odds of this happening, though, are astronomical. However, this is an important game for the Jaguars. They currently sit at 3-12 but are also undergoing a coaching search. The Jaguars’ next coach will most likely decide on who stays and who goes. One player who could be on the chopping block is quarterback Blake Bortles.
Bortles has had a significant drop in statistical performance from last year. He currently has 13 fewer touchdowns and 800 fewer passing yards than last year.Tom Coughlin, who has met with the Jaguars’ front office as a head coaching candidate, has openly stated that he is not a fan of Bortles.
Bortles did try to change opinions last week against the Tennessee Titans. He threw for 325 yards and completed nearly 70% of his passes. He has another week to try and keep his job for next year. Bortles led the Jaguars to a win over the Colts in Week 4, but he did not do anything special. He only completed 57.6% of his passes for 207 yards. It was enough to get the win, but it might not be enough to land him the job as the starting quarterback next year. Bortles will have to have a repeat of last week’s performance. He had a fantastic game against the Titans and should be able to do the same against the Colts.
Another player having a quiet season is Allen Robinson. Robinson has caught 8 fewer touchdowns and has had 600 fewer receiving yards than he did last year. He has struggled to get anything going this year, but just like Bortles, he had a great game against the Titans. He had 9 receptions for 147 yards. Robinson has had troubles with catching the ball this season, but he caught just about every pass that came his way in that game.
Last week was Robinson’s second 100+ receiving yards game this season. Robinson had a total of 6 100+ receiving yards games last year. He saw some success as the Jaguars leading receiver in Week 4 against the Colts, recording 5 receptions for 55 yards with 1 touchdown. Robinson will look to repeat his performance from last week against the Colts. It seemed that Marqise Lee might have taken over the #1 receiving role, but Robinson is trying to take it back. Another performance with 100+ receiving yards would definitely cement him in that role. The new head coach might view him as a one-year wonder, so another solid performance could put him in good consideration to make next year’s team.
Allen Robinson and Blake Bortles are the two players who need to play their best. In a game that does not determine either team’s season, Bortles will most likely be throwing the ball a lot. The Jaguars will want to win this game and will most likely put the ball in Bortles’ hands to do so. Robinson should be Bortles’ number 1 target in this game, which will give him a lot of opportunities to make plays. Robinson showed he can be a difference maker last week and will hope to do the same against the Colts.
I expect the Jaguars to win this game as they have the most to prove. Doug Marrone will also be gutsy in this game, most likely continuing the trick plays he called last week while also going for it on 4th down. I am predicting a 35-23 Jaguars win. The defense should show up to play again, while the offense will continue to be productive.