We are 24 hours away from Kansas City’s first playoff game in three years. What should we expect from the Indianapolis Colts this weekend? We asked Ink on Indy‘s Evan Reller five quick questions about the state of the Colts heading into Saturday. We answered 5 questions for Ink on Indy as well, which can be viewed right here.
1. Andrew Luck is about to start his second playoff game with the Colts. The first one was a 24-9 road loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens where Luck completed just 52% of his passes. Are their concerns about Luck heading into January?
There shouldn’t be any concerns about Luck. No one believed that the Colts would make the playoffs last season, and Luck was in his first playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl champs. His completion percentage and turnovers are way down from last season. The biggest concern would be the coaches not letting Luck cut loose and leaning too much on the run game.
2. Indy’s injury report is about a mile long. Who have been some of the key guys who have stepped up to help the Colts win four of their last five?
It helps when you play teams in the AFC South. But on offense, wide receivers LaVon Brazill and Da’Rick Rogers have both played well, despite being raw. OLB Robert Mathis has been on a tear as well. He had at least a sack in each of the recent wins. Luck has been on a hot streak the last two weeks, completing 70-percent of his passes and over 500 yards passing.
3. Are we all sleeping on Donald Brown? He seems to have done pretty well with the limited opportunities he’s been given.
Brown has always been a very good running back. The biggest issue with him has been his health. When he’s healthy, he is explosive even behind a patchwork offensive line. He finished the season with the second best DVOA in the NFL and was a top 15 back per advanced stats. Before the Luck era, Brown played in a pass heavy offense and wasn’t that great a pass blocker, famously drawing the ire of Peyton Manning. He’s improved just about every facet of his game since then.
4. The defense has allowed just 20 points in the last three weeks. Have they finally turned the corner or is this just the byproduct of getting to play Houston and Jacksonville instead of Cincinnati and Arizona?
A lot of that is the quality of the Colts opponents. The Jaguars and Texans aren’t exactly setting the world on fire with offensive records. That said, the defense has been playing better over the past few weeks. The most notable area of improvement has been in the secondary. A few players have some nagging injuries, but have been full participants in practice so far this week.
5. What is the winning formula for the Colts on Saturday?
Stop Jamaal Charles. As coach Chuck Pagano says, he is public enemy number one. Aside from that, Luck needs to be sharp. If gets on a hot streak, then the Super Bowl is a real possibility for this team.