Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL Division Round Preview, Chargers vs Colts

Ok so yesterday was a mixed bag.  I was 2-0 outright but 0-2 vs the spread.  However, I take some solice in my "analytical skills" in that the teams that won were whom I picked to win...I just need to stay away from the sports book!

Btw...the Seahawks would've won yesterday had then given a few touches to Kim Zong Il (see above).  Kenny Mayne had an excellent piece on how the Seahawks failed to find a way to utilize Il's talents.  Now...on to today's early game...

San Diego Chargers (12-5) +11 @ Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

How the Chargers win: The tale of 2 teams.  After a 1-3 start, many were ready to run Norv Turner out of town.  Slowly but surely, they turned it around and they're clicking at the right time.  They've won their last 7 games by a margin of 17 points/game (28.5 ppg to 11.5 ppg).  If Antonio Gates is out (toe)...then it could be A LOOOONG day for the Chargers.

Three Keys:
 - Keep the ball in LT's hands.  He's going to need 25-30 touches for the Bolts to have a chance.  Keeping the Colts focused on him will buy extra time for Rivers on play action.
 - Spread the field in the passing game.  Rivers has a tendency to turn towards Antonio Gates (75 catches) and overlook his other recievers (96 catches for Top 3 WR's).  You don't need to throw it to 8 guys...but get the ball to Jackson and Chambers early.  This will allow you to have the Colts on their heels when you need a late score to win. 
 - Slow down Addai out of the backfield.  Everybody knows that the pass rush is very good and can frustrate Peyton Manning, but if you don't slow down Addai then you make it too easy on him to audible to a run.

How the Colts win:  I'm sure the Colts are very excited to have Marvin Harrison back.  This takes a lot of pressure off Wayne and will create plenty of opportunites for Peyton to do what he does best, spread the ball around and find the open man.  On defense, watch for Bob Sanders to shadow LT today.  Take him out of the game and you can all but assure a trip to Foxboro next week.

Three Keys:
 - Take what the Bolts are giving you.  Nobody is better than Peyton at presnap reads and making the proper adjustments.  You have enough talent to not have to rely on one facet of your offense to put up points.
 - Don't be afraid to sell out on defense on early downs.  Bring 7 guys at Rivers and make him audible to LT or a short pass.  This allows Bob Sanders to make plays in the open field around the LOS...which is where he excels.
 - Stick with what's working on special teams.  These rumors of putting starters out on special teams is ludicrous.  You have guys that have spent all season focusing on special teams...don't throw them under the bus now.  

Prediction:  LT gets boggled up early (20 touches, 1 TD, 90 total yards), Addai runs wild in the backfield (120+ total yards and 2 TD's), and Peyton (24-34 for 277 yds 2 TD's) is able to work Marvin Harrison (4 catches 50 yards) back into the offense.

Indianapolis Colts 34
San Diego Chargers 20

And with that...I leave you with Peyton Manning giving back to the United Way...

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