Jaguars get boost as Fournette returns to play rival Colts

Blake Bortles seeks to return to form after a week off in this week’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Photo: James Crichlow/Jacksonville Business Journal: view the rest of the gallery here.

By Dustin Fletcher |

Sunday, the Jaguars will look to get back to the form of last season against division rival Indianapolis following their bye week.

It seems like years since the Jaguars got their last win way back in September against the New York Jets. Since then, the team has not looked the same and has gone on to lose four straight games.

They’ve gotten away from their identity of running the ball and passing when needed and has become a team who primarily airs the ball out with quarterback Blake Bortles. Since the game against the Jets, quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown five interceptions in less than four full games. In the half game against the Texans, he fumbled twice without any interceptions.

The key to this offense last year was to wear down the defense with a bruising ground game and only to pass when needed. It was this game plan that almost landed the Jaguars a Super Bowl berth.

This week, fans should see a return of some sorts to this game plan as second year running back Leonard Fournette returns for the first time since September in their win against the Jets.

Amongst other things, the Jaguars defense will be tested this week. The Colts offense has been electric with the emergence of former USF running back Marlon Mack and rookie Nyheim Hines. The biggest addition this season, though, has been quarterback Andrew Luck returning from injury.

Behind a much improved offensive line bolstered by top-ten selection Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame, Luck has been one of the front running candidates for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award. Luck has put up solid numbers across the board completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions.

After starting the season slow at 1-5, the Colts have won two straight against Buffalo and Oakland. Although these are both weak opponents, it can’t be denied that the team has much more momentum than Jacksonville right now who have lost four straight after starting the season 3-1.

A storyline to watch for the Jacksonville defense will be the availability of cornerback AJ Bouye. Earlier this week in a press conference, Coach Doug Marrone said that Bouye and backup corner Quenton Meeks were not practicing but would be ready Sunday. In a turn of events, Marrone was informed by several members of the media that Bouye had ruled himself out of Sunday’s game.

I predict Jacksonville gets it done and slows down Luck while Mack runs rampant. Jacksonville’s offense will run the ball more and slow down the game and control the time of possession battle. The Jaguars players will make plays on defense with the extra rest between possessions and get the win. Oh yeah, and the league’s most consistent kicker Josh Lambo still will not miss a field goal. He hasn’t missed since last season.

Prediction: Jaguars 24 – Colts 20

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