Thursday Night NFL Prediction For Week 16
AP Photo/Mike Roemer
Lead NFL Analyst
Posted Dec 17, 2008


When the NFL schedule was released in the spring, I quietly perused the late National and NFL Network season television schedule, knowing that those games were perceived by both league officials and networks executives as the weeks’ marquee match-ups. They made sense then, but the Jaguars fate was sealed thanks to injuries in the very first week of the season.

With 11 players currently on injured reserve, including six starters, and still another (WR Matt Jones) under suspension for violation of the leagues substance abuse policy, the sun essentially set over Jacksonville Municipal Stadium long before tonight's match-up with the Colts.

Although the Jaguars defeated their division rivals at Indianapolis in week three, few things have gone right for the Jaguars on the season. The Jags have only won two straight games once in the season, and too much is at stake for the Colts to allow it to happen again.

Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard's passing numbers are satisfactory, but he has been inconsistent - particularly in his red zone efficiency. Last week versus the Packers, however, I felt Garrard may have played as well as he has on the season

Garrard has been sacked 38 times in 2008. Although much of that is directly related to the loss of three starters along the offensive front in week number one, he has struggled particularly when his first throwing option wasn’t open.

With long time star Fred Taylor finished for the season, the Jaguars' running game lies squarely on the shoulders of capable but acutely undersized Maurice Jones-Drew. Defensively the loss of corner Rashean Mathis certainly does not add to the Jaguars chances for victory.

The Colts have quietly won seven straight, but have struggled mightily on the road all season.

The Colts running game has been very pedestrian this season, but their chances for success this week and beyond would be greatly enhanced if the clubs leading rusher Joseph Addai (injured last week) and Dominic Rhodes were to raise their games.

The Colts did not play particularly well last week against the winless Lions, but I like the way this veteran squads has performed when faced with adversity all year long.

With a season-ending contest with division champion Tennessee Titans up next, look for the Peyton Manning-led Colts to insure a seventh straight trip to the post season with a victory over the disappointing Jaguars.



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