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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: IND 27, SD 20

Here's a game worth watching. The Sunday night affair should be the best game of the day pitting two of the leagues best teams against... no wait... that was last year. Okay, pitting two teams that have both mysteriously floundered on offense despite having all the same players and coaches as last year. Yeah. That's it. Neither team can afford a loss starting weeks ago and the Colts are only 3-2 on the road. The Chargers are 3-1 at home though and they have had the Colts number since they won 23-21 in San Diego last year. During the divisional round of the playoffs, the Chargers again won 28-24 in Indianapolis knocking the Colts from the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL 31-3 -4.5 39
7 @GB 14-34 -1 47
8 @TEN 21-31 +4 42
9 NE 18-15 -5.5 45
10 @PIT 24-20 +3.5 38.5
11 HOU 33-27 -9 50
12 @SD - +3 49.5
13 @CLE - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     300,3
RB Joseph Addai 70 30  
TE Dallas Clark   50,1  
WR Marvin Harrison   30  
WR Reggie Wayne   110,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   60,1  
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Colts are on a three game winning streak and taking down the Patriots and Steelers were big games. After this week the schedule really lightens up for three weeks before the final push against JAX and TEN who may no longer care by week 17. The Colts started the season out poorly but could easily end up 11-5 and in the playoffs. This week should be about settling a score.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning may be a little lighter on yardage than in previous seasons but he has thrown for multiple scores in six of the last seven games and remains well over 200 yards every game. The rushing game took off last week and if Addai can keep that going, the passing just got that much easier for Manning.

Manning passed for 328 yards and two scores in San Diego last year and later had 402 yards and three scores against the visiting Chargers.

Running Backs: It was at home and it was only against the Texans but Joseph Addai rushed for 105 yards and a score last week for the first time any Colts runner has been over 80 rushing yards during the entire season. That could be a sign that his hamstring injury is finally better and that Dominic Rhodes doesn't need to be as involved on going. This week should be a good indicator if there really is any change.

Addai never had more than 56 rushing yards and scored only once via a reception against the Chargers last year. He had nine catches for 67 yards in the playoff game.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne was leading the league for a time but a less productive stretch against the Packers, Titans and Patriots dropped him behind many other wideouts. But Wayne is back on track these last two weeks with 114 yards and a score in Pittsburgh and then 90 yards last week versus the Texans. Wayne remains the primary target here and Marvin Harrison remains less productive than even Anthony Gonzalez.

The interesting trend with Marvin Harrison is that every touchdown (4) and every game over 40 yards (4) all came at home. On the road, no Harrison. He has averaged 65 yards at home. On the road a big 22 yards. Sit Harrison in away games.

Wayne caught ten passes for 140 yards and one touchdown in San Diego last year and then added 76 yards on seven receptions with a score in the playoff meeting.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark has been a bigger factor in recent games and all three touchdowns so far have come during the last four games - and in road games as well. No doubt that Clark will like facing the #32 team against tight ends.

Clark did not play in the first meeting but had six receptions for 95 yards and one score against he Chargers last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers rushing defense has been average this year but better when at home and the Colts have only recently discovered what may be a rushing attack. Look for only a moderate game here by Joseph Addai and likely no score. His fantasy value will depend on how much Rhodes is used and if Manning throws to him as he did last week.

Manning goes against the #32 defense against the pass and that same #32 is against tight ends. Tyler Thigpen threw for 266 yards and three scores in San Diego two weeks ago. The last two road games by the Chargers gave up over 300 passing yards. Look for vintage Manning in this game with 300 yards and three scores. There is a bit of revenge due here and the Chargers are challenged to do anything about it.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 8 25 7 10 28 27
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 32 13 20 32 16 11

San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 24-26 -9 42
2 @DEN 38-39 -1.5 45.5
3 NYJ 48-29 -9 44
4 @OAK 28-18 -7 46
5 @MIA 10-17 -6.5 45.5
6 NE 30-10 -6 44.5
7 @BUF 14-23 -1 46.5
8 @NO 32-37 -3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 KC 20-19 -15 48
11 @PIT 10-11 +4 43
12 IND - -3 49.5
13 ATL - - -
14 OAK - - -
15 @KC - - -
16 @TB - - -
17 DEN - - -
SD vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     270,1
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 70,1 50  
TE Antonio Gates   50  
WR Vincent Jackson   40  
WR Malcolm Floyd   40  
WR Chris Chambers   70  
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Tough loss in Pittsburgh but with six such games to choose from, one loss hurts much less this year. The Chargers incredibly are 4-6 and yet only two games behind the Broncos for the AFC West lead. After this game comes a nice three week stretch that could all be wins before a tough game in Tampa Bay and the home finale against the Broncos. Ending up with a winning record will be tough and winning this week almost mandatory.

Quarterback: Once Philip Rivers faced a top secondary, he only came up with 159 passing yards and two interceptions in Pittsburgh. But Rivers still leads the NFL with 21 passing scores and the four home games this year have already produced 11 touchdowns and never less than two in a game. He had also thrown for over 300 yards in three of the four previous games.

Rivers passed for just 104 yards in the first meeting with the Colts but later had 264 yards and three scores in the playoff win.

Running Backs: Remarkably, LaDainian Tomlinson scored a touchdown against the always stingy Steelers last week but only rushed for 57 yards on 18 carries. Has has been adding around 40 yards on four catches each week to salvage his fantasy value somewhat but so far he only has two games over 100 rushing yards and those by only a matter of a couple of yards. Last Sunday was his first rushing score since week four.

Tomlinson never gained more than 76 rushing yards against the Colts last year.

Wide Receivers: For all the yards that Rivers throws, there are no big wideouts in this offense and only once has anyone turned in a game over 85 yards this season. Chris Chambers has been hampered by a bad ankle but has played the last three weeks with minimal success. He still leads the wideouts with five receiving touchdowns even though he has not scored since week five. Vincent Jackson comes off a predictably bad game in Pittsburgh but has been the most productive and consistent receiver behind Antonio Gates and usually has around four catches for 60 yards in most games.

Chambers had 67 yards and a score in the playoff game against the Colts last year and Jackson had 93 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown as well.

Tight Ends: Bad game last week but Antonio Gates has scored six times this year and usually ends around 60 yards in most games though only once has been above 70 yards. Gates never had more than 28 yards in either meeting with the Colts last year.

Match Against the Defense: Here is where it will be interesting. Rivers is a top gun in the NFL and yet the Colts are #1 against the pass and should be getting back Bob Sanders this week to help out against Tomlinson running which has been sub-par this year anyway. No doubt that Tomlinson is big in the game plan so expect at least a decent showing here and likely one rushing score. It would be a lock for a monster game in past seasons but LT is no longer a beast.

Rivers has plenty of targets which held but the Colts have been outstanding against the pass and not solely because of the success most teams had running against them. The Colts have only allowed two passing scores this entire year. Expect Rivers to bump that one more and end with good passing yardage in what should eventually turn into a shootout.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 5 13 14 6 9 23
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 1 27 1 8 29 10

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