Posted: 1:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
By Matt Grecco
Last season we saw the Colts play at 1:00 on Sunday pretty much every week, save the mandatory Thursday night appearance in Jacksonville. Over the next four weeks, we'll get to see the Colts on Sunday Night Football twice, and this week the Colts will get to wait a day, playing on Monday night in San Diego against the Chargers. I anxiously await the nickname Jon "this guy" Gruden has for Andrew Luck. After an 11-5 season a year ago, and a 4-1 start in 2013, it's about freaking time this team is showcased in prime-time.
The Chargers have been up-and-down in 2013, sitting at just 2-3 on the season. They have a pair of 3 point losses, both of which they led for a good portion of the game against the Texans and Titans, and a 3 point win in Philadelphia, so they've been accustomed to playing in games that come down to the wire. Last week they lost to the Raiders 27-17, and turnovers were the killer, committing five of them. As you'll see in the numbers, the struggles are all on one side of the ball, and it isn't the problem that's been around the last few years.
One player who I'm sure was very much looking forward to this game was Dwight Freeney, but he suffered a season-ending quad injury, so he won't get a chance to go up against the team he built a Hall-of-Fame career with. Freeney was disappointed the Colts didn't make him an offer last offseason, and was playing pretty well before his injury. I'm sure he's happy for his old running mate Robert Mathis, who is having a monster season, but he's gotta feel awful he can't play in this game. I'm ok knowing Luck won't get swallowed up by one of the NFL's best.
The other sub-plot of Monday night's game will be Head Coach Chuck Pagano coaching against his younger brother John, who is the Defensive Coordinator for the Chargers. Now I'm guessing they won't be directly coaching against each other, unless Chuck decides he wants to start calling plays. There's also Colts Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky, who was in San Diego before taking the job in Indianapolis before last season, and Chargers GM Tom Telesco, who was Bill Polian's right-hand man for over a decade with the Colts. There are a lot more ties between these two teams than I ever realized.
Over the years the Chargers have really been a thorn in the Colts side, winning five of the last six games, and having won 15 of the 24 total games between the two franchises. It's also really easy to remember something from each and every one of those recent games:
Now that we're in the "new era" of Colts football, I'd like to keep the old era of losing to the Chargers in the most excruciating ways possible back there as well.
How do the Colts and Chargers match-up this season? Let's dive into the numbers and find out:
Statistical Preview between the Colts and Chargers:
|Orange Zone Eff||60.2%||12||57.8%||20||49.2%||22||58.8%||21|
|Avg Start Pos||27.2||23||25.2||4||31.7||12||21.8||2|
|3 and Outs||1.92||6||2.68||26||1.85||5||3.25||23|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.461||3||0.699||25||0.787||14||1.151||3|
Keys to the Game:
Even though some members of the media have already overlooked the Colts opponent for this week and starting focusing on Week 7, but I actually think this Colts team won't do that at all. New coaching staff, almost all new players, and a road game on Monday night are a good reason to not overlook the Chargers. I don't think the impending return of Peyton Manning will have any effect on Monday night, thankfully..
The numbers all say an offensive show from both team, with the Colts Defense being slightly better than the Chargers. The worst Defense the Colts have played to date, the Jaguars, they smoked 37-3. I see the Colts scoring early and often, with the Chargers settling for more field goals than they should in order to win the game.
Colts 34, Chargers 25