The Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars reside in the same conference and division, the AFC South, along with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. There is a terrific rivalry among all the teams in this division, especially as of late, as each team has had recent success and high profile players. The Jaguars and the Colts are the two most recent teams in the division to move past the wildcard round in the AFC playoffs, so there may be something special brewing between these two franchises.
History of Colts vs. Jaguars Rivalry
The Jags and Colts only met twice prior to the conference realignment in 2002. Indianapolis (AFC East) beat Jacksonville (AFC Central) in both of those contests. Then the Colts won the next three games while both teams began competition in the AFC South. Jacksonville finally got its first win against Indianapolis in 2003, and another one the next season in 2004. Though the Jaguars have only beaten the Colts 10 times total, the teams have split each of the past two years, and seven of Jacksonville’s wins have come since 2008. The Colts rattled off six straight wins from 2012 through 2015, though.
Over the years, this rivalry has often been overlooked because rarely have these two cities enjoyed success at the same time. Jacksonville had success during the Mark Brunell era of the late 90’s while the Colts floundered near the bottom of the league. That all changed after Brunell left Jacksonville and Indianapolis drafted quarterback Peyton Manning out of the University of Tennessee. Once Manning became the quarterback in Indianapolis, it was largely all over for the AFC South, though surprisingly, the Manning-led Colts did not completely dominate the Jaguars during his tenure like one may assume.
After Manning left Indianapolis, the Colts again struggled, but the Jaguars were still floundering due to their own quarterback issues. Both teams drafted a franchise signal caller shortly after, with the Colts getting Andrew Luck and the Jaguars taking Blake Bortles. Both teams continued to get better under their new quarterbacks, with the Jaguars reaching their climax at the end of the 2017 season when they made it to the AFC Championship Game. Luck was faced with some major injuries during that season, which possibly opened the door for the Jaguars’ success.
Luck returned in 2018 and that, along with the emergence of the Texans, helped bury the Jaguars in last place in the AFC South. The Colts went on to beat the Texans in the wild card round of the playoffs before falling to Kansas City in the divisional round.
Head to Head Analysis of Colts vs. Jaguars
Since the Jacksonville Jaguars were created in 1995, the teams have met a total of 36 times. Prior to the NFL realignment, the Colts and Jags were not in the same division, so they only played each other twice prior to 2002. The Colts won those two games by a combined score of 84-45. 34 of the match ups have come since 2002, when they were both put in the AFC South.
The Colts have won 23 of the games against the Jaguars. They have outscored Jacksonville by 108 points spread across those 36 games. Indianapolis has won 10 of 18 games in Jacksonville but has really dominated the series in Indianapolis, winning 13-5. The Colts own a pair of five-game winning streaks over the Jaguars, but those are the longest streaks in the entire series. Jacksonville’s longest stretch of wins came in 2011 and 2012 when they rattled off three in a row against Indy. Jacksonville and Indianapolis split the series in 2018, despite Indianapolis earning a playoff berth and Jacksonville finishing near the bottom of the league.
This rivalry, though the wins and losses may be a bit lopsided in the Colts favor, has been very close. 21 of the last 33 meetings were decided by 8 points or less. Surprisingly, the Jaguars were one of the few teams that Peyton Manning did not own during his tenure in Indianapolis,, despite the Jaguars’ struggles during that time period.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Colts vs. Jaguars
The Indianapolis Colts have been around 66 seasons and have played in 47 playoff games. The Colts are 23-24 during that time. They have been to the Super Bowl four times and won it twice. The Colts most recent Super Bowl was in 2006 when they beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. They lost in 2009 to the Saints, which was the last time they made the big game. The other Colts Super Bowl came in 1970. For Jacksonville, they have played in 14 postseason games, with half of them as wins. The Jaguars have never played in the Super Bowl, but got to the AFC title game in 2018, only to lose to the Patriots.
Colts vs. Jaguars Rivalry Outlook
Two things have recently surrounded both of these franchises in recent years: despair and hope. The Jaguars’ run to the 2017-2018 AFC Championship game gave the long-suffering Jacksonville fan base reason to hope that the Jags would become a mainstay atop the AFC South and compete yearly for championships. However, those hopes were dashed in 2018-2019 when they returned to the cellar of the division and had to bench Blake Bortles due to his subpar play. The outlook for the Jags rests solely on what play they can get out of the quarterback position, whether that be Bortles or someone else.
The Colts were completely bummed when Andrew Luck was sidelined, and there were fears that his career might be in jeopardy. Luck quieted all of those fears with his terrific performance in the 2018-2019 season. Now the Colts hope they can return to the top of the AFC South, where they reigned during much of the Manning years. Indianapolis has a young corps on both sides of the ball, so if they can stay healthy then they should remain highly competitive for years to come.
The Jags have the defense, the Colts have the offense. This rivalry will remain fun to watch in the near future because it is always exciting to watch excellent units square up against each other. The Colts are going to score on anyone; whether Jacksonville can score to keep up with them remains to be seen.