INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (4-1) at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-3)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Indianapolis -2.5 & 51
Opening Line & Total: Colts -1 & 49
The Colts look to improve to 5-1 while the host Chargers try to get back to .500 when these teams play on Monday night.
Indianapolis has won three straight games, with its most recent one being a comeback home victory last week over the Seahawks, 34-28. San Diego really struggled in Week 5, turning the ball over five times in a 27-17 loss to the Raiders. The last time these two teams played was in 2010 where the Chargers rolled to a 36-14 road victory, making them 12-4 ATS versus Indianapolis since 1992 and 6-1 ATS (5-2 SU) in their past seven meetings with the Colts. San Diego is 2-0 ATS so far this season at home, and since 1992, the team is an outstanding 21-3 ATS against AFC South opponents. However, Indy is 15-3 ATS in road games after scoring 25 points or more in three straight games over that same period. Indianapolis is also 11-3 ATS after the first month of the season over the past two years. Chargers RB Ryan Mathews is doubtful for the game after suffering a concussion against the Raiders, while Colts S LaRon Landry (ankle) is also questionable for the game Monday.
The Colts started last week against the Seahawks in a 12-0 hole and were down five going into the fourth quarter, but still came away with a 34-28 victory behind 229 passing yards and two touchdowns from QB Andrew Luck. He has thrown for 1,144 yards with seven touchdowns and just two interceptions so far this season. WR T.Y. Hilton led the team in receiving with 140 yards and two long touchdowns last week, scoring from 73 yards out and 29 yards out. RB Trent Richardson rushed for 56 yards (3.1 YPC) while Donald Brown was more effective with 37 yards and a touchdown on six carries (6.2 YPC) against Seattle. Despite Richardson’s lack of eye-popping numbers since his trade from Cleveland (151 yards, 3.0 YPC in three games), the Colts are still the NFL’s fourth best rushing team with 142 yards per game and rank fifth in the league with 4.7 yards per carry. They will, however, miss Ahmad Bradshaw (186 rush yards, 4.5 YPC, 2 TD) who was recently placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. Indy’s offense was expected to thrive, but its defense has been quite the story this season, allowing just 15.8 PPG (5th in NFL) and 201 passing YPG (6th in league). The secondary will need to keep this up against the high-powered passing attack of Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Although the Colts have done a nice job stopping the pass, they are one of the league’s worst against the run, allowing 129 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL) and 4.8 YPC (6th-worst in league). Fortunately for their run defense, the Colts are playing against a San Diego team that averages just 91.2 rushing YPG (21st in NFL) and will likely be missing its top rusher, Ryan Mathews. The Colts have done a great job forcing turnovers this season with 10 takeaways, and they have also put great pressure on opposing quarterbacks with 15 sacks, including a league-best 9.5 sacks by LB Robert Mathis.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers entered last week with just 2 INT in four games, but wound up throwing three picks in the loss in Oakland. Rivers did, however, throw for two touchdowns and 411 yards, marking the third time in four games that he has eclipsed 400 passing yards. San Diego is averaging 311.2 YPG through the air (5th in NFL) and it will need to remain efficient in that category against a good Colts secondary. The Chargers’ ground game was horrible last week, gaining just 32 yards on 19 rushing attempts, and if Mathews can’t go, they will turn to Danny Woodhead (3.8 YPC) and Ronnie Brown (3.1 YPC) to carry the load. Star TE Antonio Gates is going to play a big role on Monday as he leads the team with 32 receptions and 438 yards while adding two touchdowns this season. Rookie WR Keenan Allen has also emerged as the Chargers top receiver in recent weeks as he now has 11 receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown over the past two games. San Diego is going to have to be much better defensively as it is surrendering a league-worst 6.5 yards per play and 288.8 YPG through the air (6th-worst in NFL). Andrew Luck will pick them apart if they don’t do some adjusting. The Chargers have also struggled to stop the run, allowing 4.9 YPC (5th-worst in NFL) and 117.2 YPG on the ground (24th in NFL). That number is likely not going to get better with LB Dwight Freeney on injured reserve and LB Jarret Johnson questionable with a hamstring injury.