Colts vs. Jaguars: Staff picks and predictions for Week 18

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The Indianapolis Colts (9-7) are on the road to wrap up the 2021 regular season with a divisional bout at TIAA Bank Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14) in Week 18.

If the Colts win on the road—something they haven’t done in Jacksonville since 2014—they will clinch a playoff berth. If they lose, they need a lot of help in the AFC to clinch.

The expectation is that they will come out with a win, though. Vegas currently has the Colts favored by more than two touchdowns in terms of a spread while the experts around the league have all chosen to side with Indy coming out victorious.

Here’s how the Colts Wire staff feels about the outcome of the game:

Kevin Hickey: Colts 24, Jaguars 13

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

This should be a relatively easy game for the Colts to win. However, it was even a one-score game back in Week 10. Given that the Colts haven’t won in Jacksonville since 2014, nothing is a guarantee.

But the Colts should still come out with a win. They are the superior team on both sides of the ball and as long as the run game with Jonathan Taylor gets going, it shouldn’t be an issue. Carson Wentz has yet to throw an interception on the road this season so he’ll need to continue that storyline on Sunday.

Even if the Colts are potentially without DeForest Buckner (knee), who is questionable, the collective group of playmakers should be enough to keep Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense from sustaining drives.

I’m predicting the Colts win this game because I believe they are a playoff team. If they lose this game, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

Follow Kevin on Twitter (@KevinHickey11)

Cody Manning: Colts 38, Jaguars 10

AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

The Indianapolis Colts just need to win to get into the playoffs. The talk all week has been about how this team has struggled to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road since 2014. I’m expecting a highly-motivated team that will come out sharp and put a beating on an inferior opponent like that have all season long.

Jonathan Taylor is going to do his best to get to the 2K rushing mark as his offensive line dominates the trenches. Carson Wentz doesn’t need to do much but delivers on one deep touchdown to Parris Campbell in his return to the lineup.

The defense is like a shark that smells blood in the water with the Jaguars offense. They force a couple of turnovers to help cement themselves as the takeaway kings of the NFL. Indianapolis gets this one over before the fourth quarter so they can rest some starters.

Follow Cody on Twitter (@CodyTalksNFL)

John Alfieri: Colts 31, Jaguars 6

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Let’s not overthink this. While the Colts have not won in Jacksonville since 2014, this game will be a chance for Indy to bounce back after last week’s lost and prove they are a force to be reckoned with.

Carson Wentz struggled last week against the Raiders, but after a full week of practice he will bounce back. Expect a big passing day out of a quarterback with a lot to love going into the playoffs.

Jonathan Taylor may have a quieter day, but with the Colts likely getting out to a big lead, Frank Reich may rest his pro bowl running back for the postseason. Look for Nyheim Hines to have a huge day as well.

The Colts will coast into the playoffs with their opponent still to be determined. Regardless, this team is not to be taken lightly come playoff-time. I fully expect this team to make a run deep into the playoffs.

Follow John on Twitter (@alfierijohn)

Nick Melillo: Jaguars 20, Colts 17

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts have everything to play for after falling short to the Raiders last week. Playoff hopes on the line against a toothless Jacksonville squad waiting for the season to end should be a walk in the park for a contender this year. However, Indianapolis hasn’t won on the road against the Jaguars since 2014.

The Colts will aim to end that losing streak but will need some help from an at times inconsistent offense. Colts quarterback Carson Wentz needs to prove he can put the team on his back when defense sells out against the run. When a team has a back as talented as Jonathan Taylor, it should create fear and open up more opportunities in the passing game for Indianapolis. The Colts face a win and in scenario, and should they lose this final game against a 2-14 squad, they didn’t belong in the playoffs to begin with.

Follow Nick on Twitter (@CircleCity21)

Standings

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. John (11-5)
2. Cody (11-5)
3. Kevin (11-5)
4. Nick (8-6)

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