The Indianapolis Colts were a decidedly non-explosive offense operating behind Jacoby Brissett last season. And they knew that they were going to have to upgrade the quarterback position if they were going to make a run at the AFC South title. Well, they have gone into “win now” mode, reaching out for illustrious veteran Philip Rivers, who they hope still has some zip left in his arm. Rivers will lead the Colts into battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener, which BetOnline customers can see at 1 PM ET on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
Rivers will have to clean up what he did last season, when he threw 20 interceptions. We’ve seen he’s been capable of great things, but after 16 NFL campaigns, he’ll have to show that he can make a bit of a comeback. In his favor, he is very familiar with head coach Frank Reich from their days together with the Chargers. And there’s something to be said about a change in scenery.
The Colts have some ammunition to surround him with. Jonathan Taylor was drafted out of Wisconsin to join Marlon Mack in what could be a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield. Wide receiver Michael Pittman came with a second-round pick. Jack Doyle is a Pro Bowl tight end. TY Hilton, when healthy, is a pretty explosive deep threat. And there is a tremendous offensive line; better than Rivers had in front of him with the Chargers.
In the NFL betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Colts are laying quite a few points on the road:
Indianapolis Colts -8 (-115)
Jacksonville Jaguars +8 (-105)
Over 45 points (-108)
Under 45 points (-112)
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We’re not altogether sure it is a “rebuilding” year for the Jaguars, and in fact there is much talk that they are “tanking” in the hope of getting as close to the #1 draft pick as they possibly can. Where that would leave head coach Doug Marrone, we’re not so sure. The Jags dealt away quarterback Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP, who they spent a lot of money on. And they also cut loose thousand-yard rusher Leonard Fournette.
Obviously they are rolling the dice with Gardner Minshew, the former Washington State quarterback who they drafted in the sixth round last year and thrust into the starting role when Foles got hurt. But how much are they really rolling the dice? Minshew ultimately won the starting job fair and square, with 3271 yards and a ratio of 21 TD passes to just six INT’s, which is quite impressive for a rookie. And he brought a lot of spirit to the offense. He moves very well, and he has experience in the Air Raid offense, the elements of which are being added here and there by some NFL teams. The receiver corps is pretty strong, actually – they have DJ Chark (1008 yards), Chris Conley (16.5 yards per catch) and Keelan Cole, not to mention rookie Laviska Shenault, who has a big upside. Jay Gruden, replaced as head coach in Washington, is now aboard as the offensive coordinator.
The Jags got to the AFC title game a few years ago in the strength of its defense. But that is just a memory now. There’s been a lot of attrition, as people like Calais Campbell, Marcell Dareus, Yannick Ngakoe, AJ Bouye and Al Woods are among those no longer present. So we’re not necessarily banking on them.
But for what it’s worth, Minshew was 6-6 as a starter last season. And the Jags are 8-1-1 ATS in their last ten meetings with the Colts. We’re not so sure Minshew isn’t the better QB in this matchup. Yes, the Colts’ defense added DeForest Buckner, who can be disruptive. And Jacksonville’s backfield is largely unproven. But we are confident in Minshew’s ability to make things happen, and we’d like to see evidence that Indy is worth laying this much in a road game (whether there’s a packed house or not). So we’re on the “take.”
BetOnline gets you started the right way in the NFL season, with the best in pointspreads and totals, as well as competitive teaser payouts, halftime lines, live betting and a whole lot more……. And don’t forget that every day, you’ve got a chance to get greatly enhanced payouts on pre-selected parlays with Odds Booster!………. Poker action is very much alive with the $2.5 Million Championship Online Poker Series, which is happening right now and runs through September 27……… There are lots of ways to open up your account, including the digital currency of Bitcoin, so there is no reason you can’t get on board right away!
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