It’s Monday and of course that means Monday Night Football and tonight the Indianapolis Colts will face-off against the San Diego Chargers. The Colts are on a three game winning streak and looking to continue their streak and keep command of the AFC South. San Diego Chargers are coming off a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders and looking to stay relevant in the tough AFC West which is not easy when both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated and tied for first place in the AFC West.
Nonetheless, the Chargers are looking to get a winning streak of their own going and what better way to start than getting a home win against the Colts. However, the Colts are not to be underestimated and neither are the Chargers.
Colts Keys To Victory
Defensively, I am still concerned about the Colts especially considering they are playing the Chargers who are ranked 5th in passing yards and 21st in rushing yards. Chargers are a pretty balance team and do a good job of moving the ball. However, they do at times have trouble with turnovers and I look for the Colts to try to create some in this game and the way to do that is to get pressure on quarterback Phillip Rivers by possibly using inside blitzes. Colts would also be smart to put Chargers in tough third down situations, create pressure on quarterback Phillip Rivers and force him to throw some tough passes. I feel confident that the Colts defensive backs can handle their own since they are very physical but if the Colts allow Rivers time in the pocket, he will burn them. Colts defense should also be prepared to slow down the run game because if the Chargers run game gets going, lookout.
Offensively, Colts should look to remain balance, definitely run the ball but the passing game is the real key in this game. I look for quarterback Andrew Luck to have a big game considering the Chargers secondary is very inconsistent, which is why they are ranked 27th in opponent passing yards. Andrew Luck and his receiving core will need to take advantage of opportunities given to them by the Chargers secondary and I hope to see good consistent execution by Colts offense especially in the red-zone because if Colts defense is not consistent, this game could quickly turn into a shootout.
Chargers Keys to Victory
For the Chargers, I am also concerned about the defense, mainly because they are extremely inconsistent. Chargers defense as I mentioned earlier are ranked 27th in opponent passing yards along with being ranked 24th in opponent rushing yards. If they want a chance of slowing down this Colts offense, their best bet is to challenge the Colts inconsistent offensive line and try to get Andrew Luck to make a mistake. Chargers secondary may be questionable but their defensive line is capable of creating pressure on the quarterback, they have shown that ability earlier this season. I also look to see how the Chargers front seven will contain Trent Richardson who continues to do well within the Colts offense.
Offensively, it all starts with quarterback Phillip Rivers, who has been very impressive so far this season. If they want Phillip Rivers to get in a good groove, the offensive line must be prepared to give him time in the pocket and his receiving core must be prepared to make plays. Rivers has a lot of weapons in Antonio Gates, Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen and he will need all of them to pull off this win. Now while the passing game is important, Chargers will still need to make a point to add balance and establish a run game. Now there have been questions whether running back Ryan Matthews will play (concussion) but Chargers still have backfield assets in Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead. If the Chargers are able to get them going in the run game along with the pass, it will be another plus for the Chargers.
In conclusion both teams have capable offenses who are capable of making this a shootout, this will come down to whose defense steps up. If neither defense step up, then this will be a shootout and could very well come down to whoever doesn’t turn the ball over or who has the ball last. I predict the Colts will win this game, I like what I have seen from the Colts on both sides of the ball lately and I think they are out to prove that they are true playoff threats and possible Superbowl contenders.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com