Well *this* is awkward. It sounds like the Jacksonville Jaguars have an operational security issue. Team owner Shad Khan was planning to fire team majordomo Tom Coughlin at the end of the season but somehow the media got wind of that and forced his hand. Now the report is out that head coach Doug Marrone is gone at the end of the year. That makes this his final game as Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach and a very awkward situation for everyone concerned.
In theory, this is a winnable game for the Jaguars. The Indianapolis Colts have been in freefall during the second half of the season after going 5-2 SU to open the campaign. They’ve been decimated by injuries and have lost 6 of 8 down the stretch. They’re coming off an easy 38-6 win over the Carolina Panthers that says more about the decrepit state of their opponent than anything else. The Colts were once leading the AFC South but now they’re just ‘playing out the string’.
One thing the Colts *haven’t* done is quit. They’ve continued to play hard for head coach Frank Reich and there’s every reason to think he’ll be back again next year. He was dealt an almost impossibly tough hand with franchise quarterback Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement. Ultimately, injuries did in his chances but before they hit he had the Colts playing very well.
The same thing can’t be said about the Jaguars who look like they’ve completely quit on this coaching/management regime. They looked completely indifferent last week as they bumbled their way through a 24-12 loss against the Atlanta Falcons (who for all of their faults didn’t quit on Dan Quinn). There’s some handicappers that suggest this is a last chance ‘job audition’ for Doug Marrone and that he needs a good showing to help him get a gig as a coordinator elsewhere. That might be true, but all Marrone can do is call the plays. The players have to execute and there’s no guarantee that they care enough to do that.
Ultimately, there’s a difference in what horse players call ‘back class’. Indianapolis has it and they showed what happens when they play a team that doesn’t in their pasting of the Carolina Panthers. It should be the same deal here. Colts have been money in the bank in divisional play and enter on a 8-3-1 run. Jaguars are 4-7 ATS as an underdog and 2-4 ATS at home this season. They’ve won and covered only 1 of their last 7 games. That game was at Oakland, one of the few teams that cares less than the Jags. The line on this game has gone from Colts -1 go Colts -6 which suggests the betting market has no confidence in Doug Marrone’s ability to motivate his team here. For that matter, neither do I.