A victory on Sunday at Jacksonville puts the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. But given recent history, that’s easier said than done.
Last Sunday at home, Frank Reich’s team had an opportunity to wrap up a playoff berth. Jonathan Taylor ran for 108 yards and one score, Carson Wentz and company played turnover-free football and linebacker Darius Leonard had one of the club’s two interceptions of Derek Carr.
But the team failed to stop the Las Vegas Raiders late in the fourth quarter and the Indianapolis Colts fell by a 23-20 score. Now, this talented team has another opportunity to reach the postseason for the third time in four years under their current sideline leader. All the team has to do is make its way to the Sunshine State and knock off the team with the worst record in the NFL.
Of course, that “all the team has to do” thing when it comes to the rival Jaguars. It’s almost somewhat inexplicable given the path of these clubs in recent years, at least for the most part. But how do you explain that Jacksonville owns a dismal 46-130 regular-season record the past 11 seasons: 10-11 vs. the Colts and 36-119 vs. the rest of the league?
Since winning the AFC South in 2017 and reaching the conference title game that season, the Jaguars are a miserable 14-50. And this season will mark the fourth time in as many years that the franchise will finish in the division basement.
It’s worth noting that the Colts have dropped six straight road games in this series dating back to 2015, with one of those contests in London, England. A year ago, Indianapolis stubbed its toe at Jacksonville in Week 1 (27-20) – the Jaguars’ lone victory of 2020. When the teams met earlier this year at Indianapolis (Week 10), Reich’s team jumped out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and held on for a 23-17 victory.
The Colts are 9-7 and have everything to gain with a win. The Jaguars are currently riding an eight-game losing streak and are on their second head coach in 2021. Can the latter pull off the surprise on the final Sunday of this wildly-unpredictable season?