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Indy Nips Jacksonville As NFL Season Gets Underway

freecompress NFL 03The often maligned Indianapolis Colts defense matched the ferocity of their Jacksonville Jaguars counterparts play for play, and one touchdown pass from Peyton Manning proved to be enough to earn victory by a 14-12 margin in the NFL season opener for both teams. The victory was Manning’s 118th in a Colts uniform, tying the legendary Johnny Unitas for the franchise lead. Unitas, of course, was the personification of the franchise during their years in Baltimore.

NFL sports betting enthusiasts who took the Jaguars as +6 road underdogs were rewarded with the pointspread cover. Indianapolis dropped to 11-16 ATS over the past three years when favored. The 26 combined points went well UNDER the posted total of 45. Despite their reputation as an offensive juggernaut, the Colts have actually trended to the UNDER over the past three seasons, with 19 UNDERs in their past 35 lined games. The Jaguars, conversely, have a slight edge to the OVER in that span with a 19-14 mark over the past three years.

After the contest, Manning displayed his characteristic humility when asked about tying the mark held by the iconic Unitas:

“I’ve never felt comfortable with comparisons with him. I think he’s kind of in his own category. But I am proud of those wins.”

Manning was more concerned about the welfare of receiver Anthony Gonzalez who left late in the first quarter with an injury:

“I asked Rashean Matthis what happened and he said, ‘I didn’t even touch him . He has worked so hard in the offseason, I just hope it’s not a season-ending injury.”

Colts coach Jim Caldwell won his first game at the helm of an NFL team, and gave credit to his defense:

“Obviously, the defense played well and came up big at the end. We thought it would be a grind, and it was. I think our team certainly played tough, played hard, played with a lot of energy.”

Jacksonville wasnt overly discouraged after the contest either. Maurice Jones-Drew gave props to the Indy defense after the game:

“They just did a great job in the red zone stifling our offense. My hat’s off to them. But we have to learn how to finish.”

Quarterback David Garrard also gave credit to the tenacity of the Indy pass rush:

“I thought, ‘Here we go again, we have a great chance. You love to be in that situation. We were trying to get the ball to Maurice, but you’ve got to slow those pass rushers down. We did what we could do.”

The Jaguars will open their 2009 NFL home slate on Sunday as they host the Arizona Cardinals. Theyll travel to Houston for a game against the Texans the following week. The Colts will head to south Florida for a game against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. Theyll return to Indy for a date with the Arizona Cardinals on the following Sunday.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.