The Steelers will face the Indianapolis Colts in a nationally televised game on Sunday night. The game will be played in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Most fans are probably aware that the Colts’ star quarterback, Peyton Manning, is out with a neck injury. Without Manning, the Colts have started the season 0-2. This is the team’s first 0-2 start since Manning’s rookie season.
Not only are the Colts 0-2, but with Kerry Collins starting at quarterback, they’ve failed to pass for 200 yards in both of their games thus far. Collins is averaging 194 passing yards per game. That ranks 27th among NFL quarterbacks.
With such a poor passing attack, you’d think that the Colts would be relying heavily on their running game to carry the offense. However, that hasn’t really been the case. The Colts have only averaged 86.5 rushing yards per game. Moreover, their low rushing output has come against the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns. Neither defense is in the same class as the Steelers’.
A weak passing attack, and a weak rushing attack, are not the ideal weapons to bring to a battle against the Steelers’ defense. Knowing that the Colts have been impotent rushing the ball AND passing the ball, I expect to see Steelers’ Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau call for blitzes early and often.
Despite the dominant win last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the Steelers can definitely use an opponent like Indianapolis. Neither LaMarr Woodley nor James Harrison has shown their normal dominance yet this season. Harrison, in particular is still working himself back into shape after two off-season back surgeries. So the Colts may be just what the doctor ordered.
On defense, the Colts aren’t much better. They have the 29th ranked rushing defense in the NFL. They’ve been yielding and average of 136.5 yards per game on the ground. I’m sure that statistic has Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman salivating.
Even the Colts’ defensive stars Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathias are off to slow starts. The duo has recorded just 6 total tackles and 2 sacks through the the first two games. Of course, they’ll be facing a Steelers’ offensive line which is suspect at best. So maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered for the Colts.
Lucas Oil Stadium is known for being loud and rowdy. And because Sunday’s game is going to be on national television, I expect it to be louder and rowdier. But that shouldn’t matter. Without Peyton Manning, the Colts just don’t have enough weapons to beat the Steelers.
I predict a Steelers win, by a score of 24-7.
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