Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016
Start Time: 4:25 p.m. ET (1:25 p.m. PT)
Location: Indianapolis, IN
TV Channel: CBS
The Indianapolis Colts (0-2) are reeling following their 34-20 loss to the Denver Broncos. Now, they need to response and get a positive result when the San Diego Chargers (1-1) visit Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday.
For the third straight year, the Colts have started a season with two consecutive losses. Luckily, they have responded with a win in the previous two seasons. They need to do it a third time in order to get their 2016 campaign back on track.
The Colts and Chargers have not played very often. Since Andrew Luck entered the NFL in 2012, the two sides have only faced off once (in 2013). The Chargers won that contest 19-9 in San Diego.
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The Chargers are still led by their veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers. He has gotten off to a hot start in 2016. In two games, Rivers has thrown for 463 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Rivers’ play is the reason why the Chargers are 1-1 right now, and they were close to being 2-0. If the Chargers did not have a Week 1 meltdown against the Kansas City Chiefs, they would be on a two-game winning streak to open this season.
Meanwhile, the Colts have had inconsistent performances on both sides of the ball. Week 1, the offense shined, and the defense faltered. In Week 2, the offense struggled, and the defense kept the game close.
Any success the Colts have revolves around their quarterback Andrew Luck. He has accounted for all their passing yards and about 26% of their 165 rushing yards. They need him to play well if they even want a chance in most of their games.
So far, Luck has thrown for 582 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interceptions. He has only completed 59.8% of his passes, which is a bit concerning.
Both the Chargers and Colts are currently dealing with injuries. Chargers’ running back Danny Woodhead, offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, and safety Jahleel Addae all suffered injuries Sunday. Also, their first round pick Joey Bosa missed their Week 2 game due to a hamstring injury.
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, the Chargers seem like they have the advantage on paper. In addition to Rivers leading their pass offense, the Chargers currently have the third-best run offense in the NFL (152.5 per game).
The Chargers will be able to attack the Colts’ suspect defense on the ground or through the air. Indianapolis has given up 250 rushing yards and 598 passing yards in two games.
On the other hand, the Colts’ only way of attacking the Chargers will be through the air. Luck can take advantage of the Chargers’ lackluster pass defense. However, Indianapolis will probably not get much production from Frank Gore and the rest of its running backs.
This is certainly a winnable game for the Colts. However, it has become painfully obvious that most of their potentially wins will come in nail-biting fashion. Sunday’s game against the Chargers will be no different.
The Chargers have the better team. However, Andrew Luck has only lost three regular season games in a row only once in his career (2015). Luck should get the Colts into the win column Sunday.
Prediction: Colts 27, Chargers 24