A win over the Jacksonville Jaguars means everything for the Indianapolis Colts this season. In order to even reach the playoffs, they have to beat the Jaguars. Tomorrow at 1 P.M. Eastern Time in Lucas Oil Stadium, it will be the AFC South Super Bowl. Basically, however wins this game goes to playoffs and wins the AFC South. The Colts enter with a 7-6 record while the Jags are holding on to an 8-5 record over Indy.
The Jags are going for their first division title in eleven years and first over the Colts. They have never swept the Colts and they always struggle when they head to Indy to face Peyton Manning. Manning is 18-2 at home versus AFC South opponents. The Jags won last time, where Josh Scobey hit a 59-yard field-goal to help his team win, 31-28. A win over the Jags means first-place in the division.
"Obviously, it's a make it, take it kind of game," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's like that old basketball game you used to play as a kid, right? So we have to get ourselves in position to score so that we can stay after our No. 1 goal."
Dominic Rhodes got things hyped up, calling the Jaguars the Colts' "little brother." The Jags are 5-12 in their history versus Indianapolis. The Jags really need this win, or else it is another season down the drain.
"No one's been through a game like this for a while around here," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said.
The Jaguars have been 5-1 in their past six games, thanks to Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags' rushing attack has been unstoppable. The main focus of this game is for the Colts to get clicking on the passing game and to get clicking on the rush defense. Even if Jones-Drew gets 100 yards, make David Garrard lead the team when the pressure and game is on the line.
"They've done a great job just in terms of putting together a real strong running attack," Caldwell said. "Obviously, Jones-Drew is a guy who can run it inside or outside, catch it on screens and make yards."
But the Colts also need to watch out for Rashad Jennings, who has been playing solid lately.
"Whenever you can have a two-headed monster like that, it definitely benefits you as a quarterback and as an offense," David Garrard said. "You can just hand it off and they can make plays for you, they can keep the chains moving, they can run 60, 70 yards and score a touchdown and make the game so easy for you."
Since the AFC South started in 2002, the Colts have made the playoffs every year and have only lost the division twice. A loss tomorrow would mean no playoffs.
"That's something we'd certainly like to avoid," Manning said.
Joseph Addai may not play and it is still uncertain of Austin Collie. Rhodes may get his first start, as he hasn't played a single NFL game since December 2008. I see a shootout game, but I expect the Colts to get out on top.
"You can put it anyway you want it," Manning said. "This is a playoff game."
Indeed it is.
And the Colts will win that game.