The Indianapolis Colts are heading west for a Monday Night Football clash with the San Diego Chargers to close out Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season.
After getting manhandled by the Oakland Raiders last weekend, the Chargers enter the game at 2-3. This team is already well behind the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos in the AFC West, and another loss could put an early nail in San Diego's coffin.
The Colts, on the other hand, have looked the part of a Super Bowl contender to open the season. Earning victories against the mighty San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, Indy has a 4-1 record through five weeks and is firmly in control of the AFC South, thanks to the poor start of the Houston Texans.
Unbelievably, this nationally televised game was almost blacked out locally.
Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press reported on Thursday that over 9,000 tickets remained unsold. Thankfully the blackout was lifted, as noted by the Chargers on Twitter, after ESPN and a consortium of sponsors purchased enough tickets to broadcast the game locally:
Blackout for Colts-Chargers seems likely, with more than 9K tickets still unsold. It's unlikely corporate sponsors will pony up.— Bernie Wilson (@berniewilson) October 10, 2013
Blackout lifted for Chargers - Colts on Monday Night. Game will be shown live in San Diego. http://t.co/fz7vNz1SeP— San Diego Chargers (@chargers) October 12, 2013
Here's what you need to know about this upcoming contest:
When: Monday, Oct. 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 50 points
- Spread: San Diego (+1)
Colts Injury Report (via Colts.com)
|Jean Francois, Ricky||DT||Groin||FP||FP||FP||Probable|
Chargers Injury Report (via Chargers.com)
Can San Diego's Defense Slow Down Indy's Offense?
Offensive production hasn't been an issue for the Chargers so far this season. Philip Rivers has been outstanding for the most part, completing 73.7 percent of his passes for 1,610 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Unfortunately, Rivers can't help San Diego's defense, which has been atrocious all year.
The Chargers haven't been able to stop offenses from moving the ball at will and scoring points, ranking No. 28 in overall defense (406 yards allowed) and No. 22 in scoring defense (25.8 points per game).
Meanwhile, the Colts come into the game with one of the most balanced offenses in the league, with 159 passing attempts and 151 rushing attempts.
Second-year quarterback Andrew Luck has cut down on his turnovers this year, throwing just two interceptions in his first five games. He's also become more efficient, completing 62.2 percent of his passes.
Luck's improvements are partly due to the fact that Indy features the fourth-best rushing offense in the league, averaging 142 yards per game.
This balanced attack will likely wreak havoc on San Diego's impoverished defense.
The Chargers will be overmatched on Monday night.
The Colts have improved dramatically on defense this year against the pass, allowing just 201.4 yards per game (No. 5 in the league).
If San Diego can somehow develop a punishing rushing attack that can exploit Indy's poor rush defense (129 yards allowed per game), then the Chargers will have a chance to win the game.
Which team will win?
Unfortunately for the Chargers and their fans, running the ball isn't something San Diego does well.
The Colts will pound the rock with Trent Richardson and Donald Brown on offense, keeping Rivers on the sideline while chewing up the clock. Luck and his receivers will make big plays in the passing game on play action, and the Colts will move to 5-1 on the season.
Colts win, 27-20
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