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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 18, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at TBB NE at CAR Sun 4 PM MIA at NYJ Mon 9 PM
JAC at IND* PIT at HOU* STL at ARI *Update Times ET

Prediction: Jacksonville 24, Indianapolis 31

Here's a rematch of last season when the Colts won in Jacksonville 24-17 but then lost 24-27 back at home. The Jaguars show up with a new offense that isn't hitting on all cylinders yet, but it's already running better than anytime last year. The Colts are back at home after beating the Ravens 24-7 with surprisingly good defense and the Jags come off a nice 26-14 win over the visiting Seahawks.

Update: Dallas Clark has been cleared to play and has practiced. He'll be starting this Sunday and is safe to play this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
1 26-14 SEA 10 Nov 13 BAL
2 Sep 18 @IND 11 Nov 20 @TEN
3 Sep 25 @NYJ 12 Nov 27 @ARI
4 Oct 2 DEN 13 Dec 4 @CLE
5 Oct 9 CIN 14 Dec 11 IND
6 Oct 16 @PIT 15 Dec 18 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 @HOU
8 Oct 30 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 Nov 6 HOU . . SAT
JAX Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 20,1 0 300,2
RB Fred Taylor 60 10 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 110,1 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 50 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 50 0
WR Matt Jones 0 50,1 0
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: So far, so good. The defense stepped up last week and in conjunction with the new offensive scheme proved too much for the Seahawks to handle. The defense forced three interceptions while Leftwich enjoyed the longer passing routes since Jimmy Smith finally remembered how to catch again.

Quarterback: This should be the season that Byron Leftwich steps up. He has a new offense that is better suited to his big arm instead of the dink-n-dunk variety of last season. He threw for 252 yards and two scores against Seattle with no turnovers while running four times for nine yards. Heading into the RCA Dome, he better start limbering his arm up now if the Jags are going to hang with the Colts.

Leftwich threw for 318 yards and one score against the Colts last year while at home and then gained 300 yards and two scores on the road. This should be a good game indeed.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor made the start and gained 76 yards on 20 carries against Seattle - no major feat there. He didn't score, of course, but he also did not need to share the ball with Toefield either. Fred Taylor gained 68 yards and 107 yards in the two meetings last year and, of course, never scored.

Wide Receivers: After spawning "over the hill" comments all summer long, Jimmy Smith showed up as spry as ever in week one and ended with seven catches for 130 yards and two scores. Matt Jones (2-22) and Reggie Williams (4-41) added support but last week was the Jimmy show for 60 minutes.

Matt Jones just missed an endzone catch and he looks very tall standing back there. Figure to see it at least once each game and more if he starts coming down with the ball.

Jimmy Smith had 113 yards and one score in the last meeting against the Colts.

Tight Ends: While George Wrighster had one catch for 27 yards, there is no fantasy relevance here. Brady missed his only pass. The tight end does not figure much into the passing game and with Matt Jones there, likely never will.

Match Against the Defense: Time to fire up the passing game. The Colts defense was effective against the run last week and as in most games, the score sort of gets out of hand and passing is just what has to happen. Leftwich has already been very successful (in fantasy terms) passing against the Colts and has a better scheme and weapons than ever before. Look for Jimmy Smith to have another good game with both Reggie Williams and Matt Jones stepping up their numbers.

Fred Taylor will contribute with moderate yardage, and of course, no touchdown.

Indianapolis Colts (1-0)
1 24-7 @BAL 10 Nov 13 HOU
2 Sep 18 JAC 11 Nov 20 @CIN
3 Sep 25 CLE 12 Nov 28 PIT
4 Oct 2 @TEN 13 Dec 4 TEN
5 Oct 9 @SFO 14 Dec 11 @JAC
6 Oct 17 STL 15 Dec 18 SDC
7 Oct 23 @HOU 16 Dec 24 @SEA
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 ARI
9 Nov 7 @NE . MON SAT
IND Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 300,3
RB Edgerrin James 80,1 30 0
RB Dominic Rhodes 10 0 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 40,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 80,2 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 50 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 80 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: It's a sad day when the Colts show up with a good defense but that is exactly what happened against the Ravens last week. If the Colts can get past the Jaguars here, they'll likely skate to a 7-0 start and a week off before going to New England. This is an important game.

Quarterback: While Peyton Manning is off his normal torrid pace, his 254 yards and two scores was plenty to beat the Ravens last week and last year when he faced the Jags at home, he threw for 368 yards and three scores. Not to worry about Mr. Manning, as if anyone would.

Running Backs: Against the Ravens, Edgerrin James had pretty heavy use with 23 carries for 88 yards and 26 more yards on three catches. Same offense, different year. James ran for 83 yards and 87 yards in the two matchups against the Jaguars last year and scored only on the road. Receiving yardage kept him over 100 total yards in both games, but of course.

Wide Receivers: The Jaguars are better at stopping the Colt wideouts than most last year, and while Marvin Harrison had three scores over the two meetings, he never gained more than 70 yards. Reggie Wayne was especially quiet with only 20 and 28 yards in two games without any scores.

Where the Colts hurt them the worst was with Brandon Stokley who had 97 and 112 yards in their matchups.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark missed last week with a late reported concussion which became a game time decision. in his place Ben Utecht got the start and scored once. Last year against the Jaguars, Clark scored once and gained 38 yards in the last meeting.

I am assuming that Clark is held out again and will update as needed.

Match Against the Defense: While James doesn't have big games against the Jaguars, he still gets 100 yards total and you'll never sit him anyway. Look for Manning to be Manning - that means throwing for around 300 yards and three scores. Only Wayne has had trouble in every meeting against the Jaguars but that is always subject to change with Manning there.