INDIANAPOLIS — Here’s where and what to watch for when the Indianapolis Colts (3-5) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
RADIO: WFNI (1070-AM ESPN The Fan, 107.5-FM locally) and WLHK (97.1 HANK FM locally). Radio announcers are Matt Taylor on play-by-play, Jim Sorgi as color analyst and Barry Krauss as sideline reporter; SIRIUS (146 Ind., 103 Jax.). XM (230 Ind., 388 Jax.).
REFEREE: Jerome Boger (NFL referee since 2006 after serving two seasons as a line judge).
AFC SOUTH DIVISION: Both Colts and Jaguars are 3-5 and tied for third (last place), trailing Houston (6-3) and Tennessee (4-4).
SEASON STREAKS: Colts have won two in a row, Jaguars have lost four straight.
SERIES HISTORY: 25th regular-season meeting. Colts lead series 22-12. Jaguars have won four of the last five meetings including both last season, 30-10 at Jacksonville on Dec. 3, 2017, and 27-0 at Indianapolis on Oct. 22, 2017. The Jaguars swept the season series for just the second time (the other in 2011). The Colts are 12-5 at home against the Jaguars, including 6-4 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have outscored the Jaguars 807-696 overall. The Colts have the longest series winning streak of six games from 2012 to 2015.
RANKINGS: Colts offense ranks sixth in points scored (28.9 per game), 10th in total yards (381.5), 13th in passing yards (263.9), 12th in rushing yards (117.6). Jaguars offense ranks 30th in points scored (16.8 per game), 22nd in total yards (352.5), 16th in passing yards (257.5), 25th in rushing yards (95).
Colts defense ranks 25th in points allowed (26.6 per game), 23rd in total yards allowed (371.4), 23rd in passing yards allowed (261.5), 19th in rushing yards allowed (109.9). Jaguars defense ranks eighth in points allowed (21.2 per game), second in total yards allowed (313.2), first in passing yards allowed (190), 24th in rushing yards allowed (123.2).
TAKEAWAYS/GIVEAWAYS: Colts are tied for 13th at plus-3 with 16 takeaways and 13 giveaways; Jaguars are 30th at minus-11 with seven takeaways and 18 giveaways.
MATCHUPS: Colts LT Anthony Castonzo and RT Braden Smith vs. Jaguars RDE Calais Campbell and LDE Yannick Ngakoue — The Jaguars like to move Campbell around, even lining him up inside, but look for the three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher to test the edges against the rookie Smith as well as the eighth-year veteran Castonzo. Coming off a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2017, Campbell has five sacks in his 11th season, which ties Ngakoue for the team lead. Ngakoue had 12 sacks in his second season last year. The Colts have allowed just 10 sacks and QB Andrew Luck hasn’t been sacked in three consecutive games, a career-best clean streak of 156 pass attempts. The Colts lead the league with the lowest sack rate per pass attempt (2.92 percent). An injured Luck didn’t play last year, when the Jaguars had 10 sacks in their win at Indianapolis.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Jaguars LCB Jalen Ramsey or RCB A.J. Bouye — The Colts also like to keep defenses guessing by lining up Hilton outside and in the slot depending upon the play. Hilton, named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past four seasons, is one of the NFL’s most established deep threats, but he’s been using his speed and elusiveness more in a Colts passing attack that’s designed to get rid of the ball quicker to targets running shorter-range patterns. That said, Ramsey and Bouye know Hilton can still stretch the field with his 4.34-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Hilton missed two games due to a hamstring injury, but has 26 receptions for 353 yards and four TDs. The Jaguars have the No. 1 pass defense because both of their corners are excellent in coverage and can be counted upon to play man-to-man coverage while the effective defensive front can still apply pressure when rushing just four defenders. Bouye didn’t practice Wednesday due to a calf injury, so his status is uncertain for game day.
FOURNETTE FACTOR: The Jaguars are hoping to have running back Leonard Fournette back in the fold after he returned to practice to participate in individual drills for the first time since Week 4, when he re-injured his right hamstring. A fourth-overall pick in 2017 who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine TDs in 13 starts as a rookie, Fournette has been limited to just two games with 71 rushing yards on 20 carries. The Colts are 19th in rushing yards allowed at 109.9 per game, although opponents typically don’t run the ball as much as pass because the Colts have often struggled to defend the passing game.
QUOTABLE: “We’ve got to come out and protect our home turf in a sense,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said on Wednesday. “Lucas Oil (Stadium) has always been a great atmosphere. We certainly appreciate the fans and them being a part of our team and making it difficult for a team coming in off the road.”