The Indianapolis Colts are trying to stay humble and focused despite their big wins and surprising place at this point of the season, while the San Diego Chargers are simply looking for some consistency, and some better protection for the quarterback that they rely so heavily on.
At 2-3 and after a loss to the Raiders, Philip Rivers needs his teammates to step up. The problem? there’s not much besides Rivers throwing on this team. Ryan Mathews is a averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, and the next best rusher after him, Danny Woodhead, is more of a passing target so far this season, ranked third behind Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen.
The Colts, on the other hand, have done very well when it comes to the running game, with or without Ahmad Bradhsaw. Having Donald Brown next to Trent Richardson might not be as intimidating, but the Chargers struggle in stopping the run (allowing 117.2 yards per game), which means we’re going to see another game of the Colts not trying to force things through Luck, but getting their running backs to get the job done on the ground.
The Colts are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to stopping the run, but they’re giving up only 15.8 points per game and are facing the right team to showcase their excellent pass defense. Rivers has thrown for over 400 yards three times this season, but he’s already tossed five interceptions, and is facing a defense that’s excellent in creating turnovers.
Things worth knowing – Philip Rivers doesn’t have a real star receiver to throw to, so he tends to throw quite a lot at Danny Woodhead, especially in the redzone. The running back has caught 30 passes out of 36 targets, including 7 times in the redzone, tied for second most in the NFL. He has three touchdown passes over the last couple of games against the Cowboys and the Raiders. Andrew Luck isn’t someone that really has trouble handling the pass rush, completing just under 68% of his passing attempts when five or more pass rushers come at him, which is fifth best in the NFL.
Prediction – The Colts look like a very complete and solid package, with the right kind of balance that masks their weaknesses. The Chargers are going through something of a rebuilding process, and Philip Rivers gun-slinging the ball isn’t good enough to make up for it against elite teams.