Just a little summary of some key things as we get ready for today's 4:15pm game.
If judged solely on their performances over the past three weeks, the Cowboys would seem to be the better bet to throw your support towards, and there’s no question they’re capable of coming out of this game with a win if the Colts play down to their recent level once again. It’s still hard to ignore the track record of both Manning and his team, however, especially when it’s playing at home and in a need-to-win mode with the division race so tight. Look for the Cowboys to put forth another good effort under Garrett’s leadership, and for Manning to look more like his old self and skillfully pick apart a very vulnerable Dallas defense to get Indianapolis back on track.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colts 31, Cowboys 27
Most worrisome is that the strength of the Cowboys is their linebacking core, starting with DeMarcus Ware. Even if after the last two weeks you still don't agree that the 3-4 defense gives Peyton problems, you have to admit that talented linebackers do. Demarcus Ware is one of the best. Anthony Spencer, Keith Brookings and Bradie James are all top-notch players as well.
Quick smart linebackers confuse most quaterbacks. For Peyton they can be especially troublesome. The Colts utilize a lot of underneath quick slants, drag screens and crossing routes. Without Collie (presuming he's still out) and Clark, linebackers don't have to worry about being beat over the top and can cheat down and clog the middle of the field. Doing so takes away a big part of the Colts first and second down offense putting the Colts in too many 3rd and long situations.
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More after the jump...
The most obvious key to victory on Sunday will be to contain Peyton Manning, who has been in a class by himself for an unprecedented length of time. I know it has been fashionable to lump Tom Brady and, now, Drew Brees (both supremely clutch QBs with an absolute command of their respective offenses) in with Manning, but the things he does to run his offense are truly singular.
Out: Bob Sanders
Doubtful: Joseph Addai
I'm going to go back to 2006 for a second. That Dallas loss was the first in a stretch where the Colts lost 3 of 4 games, ending with that Jacksonville game that was a disaster. The week after that, Manning came out and played really well against a Bengals team that was 8-5, and won 34-16. That looks eerily similar to this current run by the Colts. Just found it interesting...
The Colts defense has played well in each home game this season, and I think it continues this week. Manning should be able to clean up the Interception problems that have plagued him the last two weeks, and the Colts will come away with a hard fought win, pulling away with a late score in the 4th quarter. The Colts haven't lost 3 straight games since Weeks 6-8 in 2002. I just can't see it happening.
Colts 31, Cowboys 20