This addition of Five Downs takes us to the Indianapolis Colts’ FanSided site Horseshoe Heroes.
Joining us this week is Site Expert Evan Reller.
Just like Green Bay, Indianapolis is suffering from some injuries in the secondary. Between Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, the scoreboard operator might enjoy a huge game. The Colts have Donte Moncrief back in the fold to go along with T.Y. Hilton.
Again, the Packers face many questions. Will Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery return? Will Clay Matthews be at his best against a weak Indianapolis offensive line?
We break down those topics along with many more in our weekly installment. Hopefully, the paint doesn’t turn to concrete in this one.
Horseshoe Heroes: If the Colts had a better record, I’d be more likely to lean towards Luck. Nelson has a bit of a better case as he missed the whole season last year as well. That said, without Luck the Colts wouldn’t have one win let alone three this season. If the Colts somehow manage to make the postseason, he could be a darkhorse MVP candidate. Luck is having the best season of his career after his worst that is a double whammy for comeback: the missed games plus horrible play of 2015 vs his fantastic 2016.
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Lombardi Ave: Indianapolis used several draft picks to build an offensive line. Currently, the Colts are struggling to protect Luck. What is the root cause of the poor protection so far this season?
Horseshoe Heroes: Struggling is a vast understatement after nearly letting the worst pass rushing team in the NFL (the Chiefs) double their season total last week. It is tough to say what the problem really is, but there is definitely a talent gap. Gil Brandt tweeted out which linemen have allowed the most sacks, two Colts were tied at five apiece and a third had given up 5.5.
Last week the Colts didn’t have their best lineman, left guard Jack Mewhort, who might not play this week either. The Colts have been rotating in rookies and that will always create problems but more puzzling has been the play of left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo was one of the better tackles in the league a few years ago and got a contract to match for it. Now he’s given up five sacks this season and become a liability.
Horseshoe Heroes: That depends on whether or not A) Hilton plays and B) the offensive line decides to block. Hilton had been dealing with a hip injury and it likely caused him to tweak his hamstring last week. He’s been a warrior and played very well through injury though and should be a full go.
This could be the first time since Week 2 when Luck has a fully operational set of weapons to play with. If that’s the case, he could pick apart the Packers secondary but that assumes that the coaches don’t get in the way (but don’t worry, they will).
Lombardi Ave: Is this Chuck Pagano’s last season at the helm of the Colts? If so, who are some likely candidates to fill that seat starting next season?
Horseshoe Heroes: Well he just got a four year deal, so unless the Colts completely come unglued I’d say he’s the coach in 2016. Jim Irsay really made a big mistake re-signing Pagano last year and extending GM Ryan Grigson’s contract as neither have shown to be very good at their jobs. If Irsay doesn’t want to waste anymore of Luck’s prime, he’ll admit his mistake and fire both at the end of the year.
Lombardi Ave: Finally, give us your prediction for the game on Sunday?
Horseshoe Heroes: I can’t see how the Colts win on Sunday. Their secondary is likely to be thin and the rest of the defense has been a mess all year long. Aaron Rodgers should have a field day against this team. Luck generally rebounds from a bad game with a great one, but I doubt he gets the help he needs in the other two phases of the game to be able to sneak out with a win.
The Colts margin for error is razor thin and they are desperate, but when the roster talent is bad and the coaching is worse, desperation hardly matters. Packers win, and likely by a comfortable margin.