The Jacksonville Jaguars visit the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Aaron Resnick
Matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars offense vs. Indianapolis Colts defense
- RB Leonard Fournette/Chris Ivory vs. LB Antonio Morrison – Through six games, Fournette has lived up to the hype. His overall grade of 82.3 currently ranks eighth among all backs, he has forced 25 missed tackles and leads the league with 370 rushing yards after contact. Due to an ankle injury, there is concern the Jaguars will be cautious with Fournette this week. That would lead to more work for Ivory, who has forced 12 missed tackles on 56 total touches. Morrison, whose grade of 35.7 ranks 77th among linebackers, has missed on five tackles so far and his 7.2 tackles per missed attempt places 50th among inside linebackers. With both Fournette and Ivory able to extend runs and prolong drives after contact, Morrison’s play could determine which team controls the tempo.
- T Jermey Parnell vs. Edge Jabaal Sheard – Despite an overall grade of 64.1 that ranks 41st among tackles, Parnell has been key for the Jaguars in pass protection. His pass-blocking grade of 73.5 checks in 25th, while his pass=blocking efficiency of 95.3 ranks 22nd. He’s allowed 12 total pressures on 193 dropbacks. A prized free agent acquisition this summer, Sheard hasn’t disappointed. His overall grade of 83.7 ranks 16th among edge rushers, while his grade of 90.0 in run-defense ranks third. Primarily a right outside linebacker, Sheard has generated 15 of his 22 total quarterback pressures from the left side. With Sheard’s experience on both sides, it will be interesting to see how often he faces off with Parnell.
- WR Marqise Lee vs. CB Vontae Davis– Fresh off his best performance of 2017, Lee’s overall grade of 74.8 now ranks 44th at the position. Last Sunday 54 of Lee’s 89 yards came after the catch and he forced multiple missed tackles along the way. After strong performances from 2013-15, Davis’ struggles have continued into 2017. His overall grade of 41.2 ranks 106th out of 114 eligible corners and has allowed 1.42 yards per coverage snap. With Lee primarily running on the side of the field Davis covers, it is worth noting that Davis has not missed a tackle so far in 2017. With Blake Bortles’ average depth of target (7.7 yards) ranking 28th among qualifying quarterbacks, Davis’ sound tackling could prove to be a big factor.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
Matchup: Indianapolis Colts offense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars defense
- WR T.Y. Hilton vs. CB Jalen Ramsey – The most exciting matchup of this AFC South tilt will feature Indianapolis’ top offensive weapon against Jacksonville’s best defensive back. Despite a rough game on Monday night against the Titans, Hilton still leads the league with 3.20 yards per route run from the slot. His average depth of target from the slot is a whopping 17.8 yards, so the Colts look for a big play when lining their top receiver in that spot. On the other side, Ramsey has been fantastic in his second year, earning a 90.5 overall grade through six games. In the duo’s last matchup (Week 17 of last year), the cornerback held Hilton to four catches on seven targets for 65 yards while defending one pass.
- T Joe Haeg vs. Edge Calais Campbell – Haeg had his best game of the 2017 season against the Titans last week. His 85.5 overall grade was the best among Colts offensive players. The sophomore did not allow a single pressure in 41 pass-block snaps. Haeg will have his hands full with Calais Campbell in Week 7. Campbell ranks third among edge defenders with an 89.5 overall grade while his 14.3 pass-rush productivity ranks fifth. Among his 32 total pressures are a league-high ten sacks.
- RB Marlon Mack vs. LB Telvin Smith – With Robert Turbin out for the remainder of the season, expect rookie Marlon Mack to have an increased workload going forward. Mack has forced nine missed tackles on 30 touches thus far, while averaging 1.31 yards per route run. Smith has been excellent for the Jags in 2017, earning an 88.5 overall grade (third best at his position). Among linebackers, Smith’s 11.5 run=stop percentage ranks third and his 0.9 yards per coverage snap ranks 21st. In his last two games, the linebacker has allowed a catch on all four targets against opposing running backs in coverage, but they went for a total of just 20 yards.