The Los Angeles Chargers won a close one versus Tennessee as they’ve been doing all year. They’ll now look to push themselves into the playoffs versus a team on the wrong side of history in Indianapolis. The Colts will be starting Nick Foles after Matt Ryan‘s collapse which should be an interesting matchup. Let’s review positional matchups, keys to win, and some stats to know for Monday Night Football in Indy.
Matchups to Watch
Chargers’ Offense vs Colts’ Defense
Even though the Colts’ offense has been disappointing this year, it’s been the defense that has kept them competitive. This will certainly be a battle between two teams that like to keep it close. It’ll be up to the Chargers offense to put up points against a defense that is nearly top 10 in yards allowed per game and 9th in total sacks.
The Chargers also have a strong passing game, ranking second in the NFL with 274.2 passing yards per game only behind Kansas City. The Colts have been an interesting team, to say the least, this year. They were able to contain Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, so they are more than capable of stifling Herbert.
Asante Samuel Jr. vs Michael Pittman Jr.
This one’s a pretty important matchup. Michael Pittman Jr. has been the Colts’ main weapon on offense and should be even more now with Jonathan Taylor out. It will be up to the young corner, Asante Samuel Jr. to lock down their main target and make life harder for Foles trying to read the defense. Pittman is a similar receiver to Mike Williams.
Khalil Mack vs Bernhard Raimann
Bernhard Raimann has allowed 4 sacks in his last 5 games going up against some premier pass-rushing teams like the Eagles, Steelers, Cowboys, and Vikings. They’ll move Khalil Mack around likely but when this matchup comes around it should be a good one. This matchup leads to my first key to winning the game which is pressuring the quarterback. Backup quarterbacks in particular like to play it safe going for the check downs and simple reads but it’s hard to do that with a defender in your face.
Keys to Win
A key to winning this game will be forcing Foles to make quick decisions. Pressuring him with different looks and stunts will help deter an offensive attempt of a big play. Another focus of the defense should be to take away the check-down option. Both running backs can be used out of the backfield in the passing game, so either the corners or edges need to look out for that.
Don’t Keep it Close
This one should seem simple, but the Chargers have struggled closing out games. The reality is that this offensive has struggled for the bulk of the season. They are not very efficient when it comes to DVOA and rank in the middle of the pack in terms of points per game. The team also has a -28 point differential, which indicates that when they lose, they lose significantly and win by a small margin.
Stats to Know
The last 7 games for the Chargers have been within one score
The Colts offense ranks 29th in points per game averaging 17.5
The last time Nick Foles played a full game he led the Bears to a win over the Seahawks in 2021
The Colts are last in the NFL in average depth of target with 6.7 yards