A victory over the previously unbeaten Seattle Seahawks last week is making the Indianapolis Colts look like a serious contender in the AFC.
Indy also blew out the San Francisco 49ers by 20 points in week 3. Up next is a matchup in San Diego with the 2-3 Chargers who narrowly avoided the game being blacked out in the San Diego market.
The Chargers defense is among the worst in the NFL and Phil Rivers five interceptions haven’t helped either under new head coach Mike McCoy.
The San Diego Chargers may be 2-3, but Phillip Rivers is not the reason why, although his 3 interception game against Oakland last week didn’t help his case.
Ryan Matthews leaving that game early with a concussion may have contributed since Rivers had to carry most of the load, but Matthews is probable for this game.
Back to Rivers, his 13 touchdowns are the 2nd most in the NFL entering week 6, and his 73.7 percent completion percentage is the 2nd highest in the league. Rivers is also 3rd in the NFL with a 110.6 rating.
In the receiving game, Antonio Gates is once again having a solid season, and Eddie Royal has 5 touchdown catches on the year.
Danny Woodhead is showing that he belongs in this league. He’s 2nd on the team with 31 catches acting as the Chargers new version of Darren Sproles. On the negative side, it was just announced this week that Malcolm Floyd will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury.
Losing Ahmad Bradshaw certainly hurts, the but Colts rushing attack with Trent Richardson and starting last week Donald Brown is getting the job done.
Entering this game, Indy has the 4th best rushing attack in the league. Andrew Luck and the passing game rank 24th, but have made plays when they’ve had to. Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton, and Cody Fleener have 2 touchdowns apiece and form a solid receiving core for the Colts.
Colts: The Chargers are pretty much a one dimensional offense relying heavily on the passing game, while the Colts have a budding star in Andrew Luck who has a top 10 back in Trent Richardson who helps take the pressure off him.
The Indianapolis Colts defense is one that clamps down when it has to. Indy has shut out opponents in the 4th quarter for 4 straight games, and has allowed just 7 points all season allowing Andrew Luck and company to have the opportunity to complete comebacks.
Robert Mathis has been unstoppable and leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks through 5 games. Overall, the Colts do a good job stopping the pass, but rank 30th in stopping the run. The Chargers haven’t shown they can stick to the run which bodes well for Indy.
The Chargers defense is among the worst in the league and teams have had no problem throwing or running it for that matter. San Diego is giving up an average of 406 yards of offense per game and losing Dwight Freeney for the year doesn’t help at all. This Colts offense is set up to put up big numbers in this one.
Colts: The Colts have the edge mainly because the Chargers defense is absolutely horrendous. San Diego made Terrell Pryor look like a Hall of Famer in its last game.
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri vs. Nick Novak
Punter: Pat McAfee vs. Mike Scifres
Return Man: TY Hilton vs. Eddie Royal
In the kicking game, Adam Vinatieri is still doing it, even at age 40, but he’s missed both of his attempts longer than 50 yards showing he doesn’t have the range he used to have. Nick Novak, a career 76.8 percent kicker, has missed just once this season. If you had to make one field goal though, you’d still take Vinatieri over Novak.
As for the punters, Pat McAfee has the stronger leg than Mike Scifres does, but McAfee has 3 touchbacks to Scifres zero.
In the return game, both TY Hilton and Eddie Royal have yet to make a significant impacts.
Colts: The return and punting games are virtually equal, but the difference is when you need a big kick, you can’t trust Novak nearly as much as you can Vinatieri
The Colts are better all around than the Chargers are, and you can’t trust Phillip Rivers to do it all by himself, or San Diego’s defense to make the big plays.
Colts 33 Chargers 24