San Diego Chargers Should Take Confidence with Them to Indianapolis

Justin PenicheCorrespondent INovember 26, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 03:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers signals to his team during the AFC Wild Card Game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 3, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

If there are three teams Chargers' fans absolutely hate, it's the Patriots, Jets and Steelers.  Those teams have recently had the Chargers' number.  The Patriots and Jets have each bounced the Chargers from the playoffs twice since 2005, and the Steelers ended the Chargers season in 2008. 

Colts' fans probably feel the same way about the Chargers.  San Diego has just three playoff wins in eight chances dating back to the 2004 season, but two of those three wins have come against the Colts.  In fact, the Chargers have played the Colts six times in as many seasons and won four of the six matchups, including two of three in Indianapolis. 

The Chargers got off to their usual slow start this season digging themselves into a 2-5 hole.  They head to Indianapolis Sunday night having won three straight games, including two against teams from the AFC South.  The Colts have lost two of their last three games but are a perfect 4-0 at home. 

Both teams have significant injury issues.  The Chargers have used a league high 70 players this season and the Colts have placed 13 players on injured reserve. Both quarterbacks, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning, have thrown completions to 14 different receivers. 

On offense, both teams have been outstanding.  The Chargers lead the league in total offense mostly due to their top ranked passing attack.  The Colts rank fourth in total offense thanks to their second ranked passing offense but have been brought down by a lackluster running game that is ranked 28th in the NFL.

On defense, the Chargers have the obvious edge.  They lead the league in passing defense and are ranked third against the run.  The Colts rank eighth against the pass and 30th against the run. 

The Colts' inability to run the ball and stop the run makes it difficult for them to control the clock and puts a lot of pressure on Peyton Manning.  The Chargers should be able to take advantage of this situation with the combination of bruising full back Mike Tolbert, who is the Chargers leading rusher, and the speedy Darren Sproles who has had some of his finer performances against the Colts. 

The Chargers will also look to take advantage of a beat-up Colts secondary with the return of wide receiver Vincent Jackson.  Jackson will be seeing his first action in 2010 after holding out for the first seven weeks and serving a team imposed three-game suspension for being placed on the roster exempt list. 

The Colts are favored in this game and Lucas Oil Stadium is a tough place to visit, but with the Chargers past success and current momentum, they have every reason to believe they can win in Indianapolis.