The Indianapolis Colts have put an opening weekend defeat behind them and now look on track for another playoff season. Next up is a trip to Jacksonville and Al Dannity likes the Colts’ chances.
A statistical mis-match The Colts start as -7.0 favorites with Sports Interaction and if anything, that’s being kind to the Jaguars. Jacksonville may have home-field advantage but when your crowds are as small as the Jags’ that doesn’t count for much. This game is going to be about cold hard Football facts and they point to only one possible outcome.
Indianapolis has out-gained Jacksonville 412.7 yards to 280 yards. The Colts out-score the Jaguars by 29.7 points to 13.3. Defensively the Jags square up to Indianapolis pretty well on yards allowed, with opponents gaining 404.3 yards on average against Jacksonville compared to 377 against the Colts. Points allowed is a different story however as the Colts are giving up 20.3 points per game compared to the Jags’ porous 27.7 average.
Looking at numbers like that a -7.0 NFL betting handicap on the Colts is nothing short of a steal. I expect Peyton Manning to put up some big numbers through the air but I like Jacksonville to post a slightly higher amount of rushing yards. The rough and ready Jaguars will get blown out of this game in the second half. Bet on the visiting Colts to win.
Saints will get back on track New Orleans gets the perfect pick-me-up game after going down in overtime to Atlanta last Sunday. The Panthers have a rookie quarterback making his second career start at the helm and little in the way of protection. That’s bad news for Jimmy Clausen, Carolina’s signal-caller, as it means he will spent a lot of this season face down in turf.
Neither of these teams has shown anything inspiring on the ground so I expect this to be a passing heavy game. Offensively the Saints have taken some time to get up to speed but they are up against a team which is performing horribly on third down defense.
Carolina’s problem is getting its defense off the field, coupled with the Saints’ improved return game, are enough for me to back New Orleans as -13.5 favorites with Sports Interaction. This Carolina team could be in contention for the top pick in next year’s draft. New Orleans is still in contention for a trip back to the Super Bowl. Bet on the Saints.
XLII: Gabriel Morency breaks down the weekend’s sporting action