2010 Colts Game Preview: Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles

The M*A*S*H unit known as the Colts head back to the East Coast Sunday afternoon to take on the rested Philadelphia Eagles.  For the 3rd time this year the Colts will play a team coming off of a bye (Chiefs, Texans).  Even Peyton Manning was annoyed by that fact.  I couldn't come up with an easy way to check if this had happened in the past, but they really need to address this next season.  I can understand once, and on rare occasions twice.  But 3 times?  Talk about a competitive disadvantage.

Anyway, seeing as the Eagles are in the NFC, the two teams haven't met since 2006, when everyone in the country learned the name "Joseph Addai".  Addai had over 200 total yards, including 171 on the ground, and 4 Touchdowns, leading to a 45 - 21 Colts victory in Indianapolis.  He wasn't the starter in that game either. Peyton Manning only had to throw 20 passes, which were the third fewest attempts in a game he legitimately played in his career.  A really bizarre thing from that game too:  Not one Eagles player who threw a pass, caught a pass, or ran the ball from that game in 2006 is still on the team (11 players).  Talk about turnover.  Also, in 2002, Peyton Manning had a perfect passer rating in a 35-13 Colts win.

The Eagles are 4-3, which is good enough for 2nd place in the NFC East.  They've had a very public carousel at Quarterback, thanks to an injury to Kevin Kolb, then an injury to Michael VickAll signs point to Vick being the starter, coming back from a 3 game absence due to a rib injury.  Vick has faced the Colts only once, and he struggled mightily, posting a 19.0 QB Rating in a 38-7 Colts victory back in 2003.  I think this Eagles team is much better than the Falcons of 2003, and Vick is more of a true QB than he was then as well.

On to the 2010 version of Colts vs. Eagles.  Stats and keys to the game after the jump...

Adjusted Stats for each team:

Statistic Colts Eagles
Offense Rank Defense Rank Offense Rank Defense Rank
DSR 76.2% 2 69.3% 19 70.4% 13 68.7% 15
ANPY/A 7.026 2 4.765 7 6.924 5 4.010 3
Turnovers 1.46 14 1.53 19 1.03 3 2.26 6
Yds/Drive 38.05 1 28.35 13 30.31 13 25.15 6
ToP/Drive 3:06.0 2 2:37.0 12 2:37.0 20 2:26.0 4
Yds/Play 5.656 6 4.811 8 5.574 8 4.700 6
First Downs/Drive 2.23 1 1.69 20 1.54 20 1.57 12
3rd/4th Down 45.6% 4 38.1% 15 40.7% 14 39.9% 20
Avg Start Pos 29.0 27 30.2 17 31.8 8 29.5 13
3 and Outs 2.39 4 4.42 9 3.89 16 3.92 13
RZ Eff 65.4% 17 52.1% 4 76.4% 5 74.7% 27
Plays/Drive 6.829 1 5.736 21 5.454 18 5.393 11
Penalty Yds / Play 0.581 2 0.705 24 1.124 29 0.520 31
RB Success 47.0% 15 54.1% 31 43.2% 22 43.9% 16
Yds/Carry 3.81 21 4.49 26 4.84 5 3.87 12
Net Punts Yds/Game 40.54 9 42.68 31 38.77 20 41.61 29
Overall 2 15 12 8

Statistical Keys to the Game:

  • The most important stat, Drive Success Rate, looks to play a big part on Sunday.  The Eagles defense is right around average, while the Colts offense has been fantastic all year.  Look for the Colts to have several long, sustained drives. 
  • Want to see a pair of teams that have been really good throwing the ball, and really good stopping the pass?  You've got them in this match-up.  All 4 Units are in the top 25% of the league.  If one team can be above average on both sides of the ball, they're going to win this game.
  • The Eagles are also very good at not turning the ball over, and forcing turnovers.  The Colts will have to take care of the ball if they want to win, which they did against the Texans.
  • I mentioned it before the Texans game, but 3rd/4th Down Conversion Defense for the Colts has been the barometer for how they have done. The Eagles are pretty average offensively on 3rd/4th downs, so I expect that trend to continue.  I also fully expect the Colts offense to continue picking up 3rd/4th downs, as they've done all year.
  • The Eagles have been penalized a lot, and have had very few penalties called against their opponents.  Look for penalties to potentially keep a drive alive, or kill a drive, in favor of the Colts.
  • The Eagles look like they have a Boom or Bust running game, based on a high Yards / Carry, but a low RB Success Rate.  The Colts will need to limit the big plays in the run game.

Other Keys to the Game:

  • Will DeSean Jackson play, and will he make an impact in the game?  Jackson is coming off a severe concussion from a vicious hit by Falcons DB Dunta Robinson, and he's the Eagles main homerun threat.  The Cover 2 will hopefully help curtail him, but he can fly.  I'm scared of the 20 yard patterns in the soft parts of the zone.
  • The Colts RB situation.  Both Addai and Mike Hart did not practice on Wednesday, which leaves Donald Brown, who is coming off an injury of his own, and Javarris James.  That's painfully thin.
  • The Colts have not played well at all defensively in their 4 road games this season.  The 3 home games have given us all hope that the defense is capable of playing well, but they just haven't shown it yet this year.
  • Ex-Patriot Ellis Hobbs has been benched by the Eagles in favor of 5th year player Dimitri Patterson after Hobbs was beaten time after time by Kenny Britt two weekends ago.  This will be Patterson's first career start, who has been mostly a Special Teams player.  With Asante Samuel on the other side, look for Manning to make an example of Patterson.

Predictions:

Andy Reid is 11-0 as a head coach the week after a bye.  The Colts haven't looked that good on the road this season.  The Colts are going into Philadelphia on a short week.  The Eagles are a very good team, and according to the Winning Stats rankings, are #4 overall.  So many factors all pointing to a Colts loss, but I still can't see it happening (Does that just make me a homer?).  The Colts have played the Eagles 3 times since Andy Reid took over, and they are outscoring the Eagles 124 - 51.  While I can't see a blowout like the last 3, I do think the Colts will prevail with a 4th quarter comeback.

Colts 24, Eagles 23

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