Jaguars in must-win mode at Indianapolis
Mired in a four-game losing streak, the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't shying away from the magnitude of Sunday's trip to face the Indianapolis Colts.
"It's a thousand percent must-win," linebacker Myles Jack said. "We can't lose another game."
Despite a 3-1 start, the Jaguars sit tied with the Colts at 3-5, 2 1/2 games behind AFC South-leading Houston. Indianapolis and Jacksonville both enter off a bye, but the Colts have won their last two games by a combined 46 points.
"We're in this 1-0 mode, and just get this one right here," Indy head coach Frank Reich said. "As we get closer down the road, maybe [the division race] comes into play."
Despite a spate of injuries and offensive struggles, the Jaguars also believe they can make a run.
"We know we still have a chance," quarterback Blake Bortles said. "We have to play really well for the whole second half of the season."
Central to that pursuit will be running back Leonard Fournette, who appears to finally be over his hamstring injury. Fournette has just 71 rushing yards in parts of two games this season and hasn't played since Week 4.
"I know everyone is fired up to have him back in the lineup," Bortles said. "I know I am excited to watch him run. I know guys are excited to block for him and see him go.
"...Not having him has made us change some of the things we do."
Fournette had just 57 yards on 20 carries in one game against Indianapolis last season, but the Jaguars won the season series by a combined score of 57-10. Jacksonville totaled 14 sacks, including 10 in the first meeting.
But pressure will be harder to come by Sunday, as the Colts have allowed just 10 sacks (second best in the NFL) and none since Oct. 4. The Jaguars' talented pass rush, meanwhile, ranks 25th with a modest 19 sacks.
But quarterback Andrew Luck is not taking Jacksonville's defense lightly.
"They have really good players all over," Luck said. "They've got guys who can cover, they've got really, really good linebackers, they've got a really stout, strong defensive line and they play the system really well."
Luck also praised cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who said Luck was not "that good" in an interview with GQ this offseason.
"Ramsey's a stud," Luck said. "He's physically very gifted. I think he plays football very smart and sharply, if you will. So we know whoever's over there -- if he goes with T.Y., if he doesn't -- that it's tough work all day long."
Hilton's production has been modest (26 catches, 353 yards, four TDs), as Luck has hit 11 different players for scores, already a single-season franchise record and tied for second-most in NFL history. But Hilton doesn't care as long as the offense is clicking.
"They're doing a great job of keeping everybody involved, everybody going, and keeping the defense off balance," Hilton said.
Colts safeties Clayton Geathers (knee) and Mike Mitchell (calf) were the most notable players to miss Wednesday's practice.
The Jaguars could be without cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (calf) and Quenton Meeks (knee). Bortles is practicing in full despite a left shoulder issue.
--Field Level Media
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