Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Thursday Night Football Pick – Week 16

Posted by mizzou1028 on December 18, 2008

It’s quickly getting into crunch time.  As we start the second to last week of the season, we find a very intriguing matchup on Thursday night.  The Colts are the hottest team in football, having not lost since late October.  Peyton Manning has been playing much better over the past month or so, the passing game is clicking, the running game is going even with Joseph Addai hobbled, and the defense has been much improved with Bob Sanders back from injury at safety (sound familar?  His return sparked the Colts to their Super Bowl win two years ago).   They figure on paper to be a heavy favorite over the hapless Jaguars, even on the road.  Jacksonville has to qualify as the unquestioned biggest disappointment in the league this season.  After their 12-4 finish last year, playoff win at Pittsburgh, and great effort the next week at New England, I thought they were going to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.  This easily qualifies as the most embarrassing preseason pick I have ever made.  Little did I know their offensive line would be a mess, the running game wouldn’t be anywhere near the same, and their dominant defense would suddenly show characteristics resembling an instruction manual on how not to tackle.  

Before you conclude that the Colts will win by four touchdowns, decide this game is not worth watching, and let your wife or girlfriend watch a rerun of Grey’s Anatomy instead, let’s consider a few things here.  The Colts are somewhat injury riddled heading into this game.  Joseph Addai claims he will play, but reports seem to vary on this.  We know Addai participated in practice on Wednesday, but will he be able to go?  Will he be full speed?  We don’t know.  Dominic Rhodes filled in nicely last week, but that was against the Lions.  Even Jacksonville is not that bad.  We also learned today that Marvin Harrison will sit out due to a hamstring injury.  Granted, Harrison has been invisible most of the season, but he’s still Marvin Harrison.  If he’s not in there, it will allow the Jags to focus more on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.  The effect of these two injuries together is significant.  If the Colts can’t run the ball with Rhodes, it will play to Jacksonville’s advantage.  Harrison also not being in there means there aren’t as many receivers for Jacksonville to worry about covering.  Oh, and Bob Sanders is also questionable.  When he’s not in there, that’s bad news for Indy.  Which leads me to……

The previous meeting in week three.  Bob Sanders did not play.  This is one of the few games in which Jacksonville ran the ball well (and very well I might add) to the tune of 236 yards.  Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew each went over 100 yards, and Jones-Drew also added 59 yards receiving on four catches.  Sanders is one of the league’s best run stuffing safeties, and his presence makes all the difference in the Colts’ run defense.  Even if he’s in there but not 100 percent, his presence is a big plus for Indianapolis.  Jacksonville’s defense also had great success against Manning in the first meeting, intercepting him two times, including a 61-yard pick six by Rasheen Mathis.  

This is a division game.  The seemingly left for dead Jaguars rose up and stunned the Packers last week, and Jones-Drew ran well.  The Colts survived a much closer than hoped for win over the winless Lions.  Momentum means a lot in football, and it seems like the Colts are battling several injuries on a short week, not wanting to push guys if it means their playoff availability could be in question.  The Colts have a one game lead over every other wild card contender, so they know they are in good shape.  Even if they haven’t officially clinched yet, they are right on the cusp.  Jacksonville is playing for pride.  This is not a factor to be underestimated.  Many teams over the years, teams with nothing to play for can get highly motivated by bumping off a division rival late in the year and messing with their playoff hopes.  

Indianapolis is clearly the better team overall.  Everyone knows this.  Yet there is a reason why they play the games.  Last week I split my two biggest upset reaches (getting Houston over Tennessee and missing Kansas City over San Diego, but it was close).  I thought Dallas over the Giants was an upset pick at the time, but at best that can be only called a minor upset.  At any rate, this is a game that is not easy to pick, and that makes it worth watching.  I am convinced it will not be a blowout in any way, now the question is, who wins?  Do I dare go for another upset reach?



Why not, UPSET ALERT.  Call me crazy, call it a hunch.  Jacksonville 30 Indianapolis 27.  The Titans may still be leading the division, but something tells me the Jags will be highly motivated for a chance to sweep the Colts.  

Either that or I will have to write another embarrassing retraction on Friday morning.


2 Responses to “Thursday Night Football Pick – Week 16”

  1. Bryan said

    I mean since last two three week i observing that Thursday gets an exciting and interesting game with it on which everyone’s eye ball is focused…..and this Thursday as well…….but i’m this thursday is resulting unfortunate for me… that’s im not going for bets this Thursday….. best of luck to all those who have…

  2. Doug Baker said

    Man, the Jaguars almost…but Peyton put the hurting on them in that game. That pick six in the second half for the Colts put the nail in the coffin for the Jags. Once the Colts were playing with the lead it was all over.

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