This time of year can be one of the trickiest for a football handicapper. This is where you run into Games such as this one with the Colts already having cliNChed a playoff spot and home field advantage, while the Jags are in a do or die situation. Many bettors make the mistake of automatically going with the team that needs the win, over the team that is playing for pride. Doesn’t always work out that way folks.
But of course, this situation is a little bit different, in that, the Colts are shooting for a little history in their attempt to go undefeated as their rivals, the Patriots did a couple of years ago. It sounds like the players want to go for the undefeated season, which is what you would expect am athlete to say. So it will all come down to the Colts coaching staff as to how they approach it.
There are also two schools of thought on what the correct strategy is for a team in the Colts position. One school of thought is to rest your star players, get everyone healthy and rested for the playoffs. The other school of thought is to keep playing and treating every Game the same.
I think history will show that the correct approach is to keep playing. Imagine if the Colts were to start resting players now. Their next meaningful Game would be a full month away. They’d likely meet a hot, streaking team in the playoffs and would be ripe for an upset. CliNChing early can be dangerous.
With that in mind, we’ll approach this Game as though both teams will be giving 100%, and again, the fact that the Colts are still playing for a piece of history should make that approach the correct approach.
In that case, we have to side with the Colts here. Sure, the Jags always seem to play the Colts tight, and managed to almost pull the upset in the first Game of the season, losing just 14-12. But both teams have come a long way and have traveled much different paths since then.
The problem for the Jags is going to be their offense. They simply don’t figure to be able to match points with Peyton Manning and the Colts. The Colts are the real deal. The complete package if you will. They are playing well on BOTH sides of the ball. A balanced team, if you will. The Jags on the other hand, are a team with a decent defense but on the flip side, simply can’t move the ball offensively and they’ll be up against one of the better defenses in the NFL this week.
The press and those hyping the Game like to mention that the Jags control their own destiny. That the Jags need to win out to get in. What they fail to mention, is that the Jags have controlled their own destiny for a number of weeks, but have come up short. In fact, they have lost two out of their last 3 Games, one against the Dolphins last week, and a couple of weeks ago against the 49ers. They couldn’t get it done then, what makes anyone think they will get it done against a team that is head over heels better than the other two?
With the line just -3, all were asking the Colts to do here is win. We think they will. Colts -3