Our game preview this week looks at the Jacksonville Jaguars matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
Sunday's 14-10 loss to Miami was the seventh game this season that David Garrard did not throw a touchdown pass. Since 2006, David Garrard has only thrown touchdown passes equal to or greater than games played twice.
Maurice Jones-Drew is on pace to rush for more touchdowns than David Garrard is on pace to throw for. In the modern era, this has been accomplished rarely. Some notable instances were in 2005 when Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks broke the NFL single season rushing record with 27 rushing TD's and in 2006 when LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers broke Alexander's record with 28 rushing touchdowns.
David Garrard is on pace to throw for more than 3,000 yards for the second time in his career (2008) and has thrown double digit touchdowns for the fourth season in a row.
Cornerback Tyron Brackenridge and safety Gerald Alexander have both forced key turnovers two games in a row. Both have looked like solid roster additions, as Brackenridge looks to have solidified his nickel-back position by his play in relief of injured cornerback Rashean Mathis. Newly acquired safety Anthony Smith has now contributed to a turnover in some way in three of the last four games.
Derrick Harvey had his second game in a row with a sack against Miami. He has really come on after settling in the left defensive end position. He now has a pair of sacks on the season and once again leads the team in quarterback pressures.
Playoffs and the Upcoming Matchup:
Amazingly enough, the Jacksonville Jaguars still hold the sixth seed in the AFC playoff race. However, it's very possibly that a log jam of teams could wind up at 7-7 after this weekend. Jacksonville could be one of them if they lose to the Colts, but Colts head coach Jim Caldwell essentially stated the Colts would not be resting their starters Thursday. To guarantee the playoffs, the Jacksonville Jaguars would have to win out in their final three games against the Indianapolis Colts, and on the road against the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns.
With Brian Witherspoon being released yesterday, it's likely that Nate Hughes will get some reps as a kickoff returner. Mike Thomas has had some success returning kicks, but it is believed that using him for punt returns will be more prudent. Thomas is a useful cog in the Jaguars offense, and using him as a primary kick returner limits his work while the offense is on the field. Many have questioned why Witherspoon was waived, and it comes down to something simple: Brock Bolen can cover kicks like Greg Jones did, Witherspoon can't.
On the injury front, after watching "All Access" last night, it appears Clint Ingram KO'd himself in the Miami game. I wouldn't expect him to play on Thursday night if that is the case, not to mention the fact that undrafted rookie Russell Allen has seemingly outplayed Ingram so far this year.
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