As the Indianapolis Colts enter Week 10 the team gets closer to being eliminated from playoff contention with each loss. Despite having a lot of football left to play, a 3-6 record is difficult to bounce back from, especially considering their second-half schedule still in front of them.
There are definite positives within the Colts’ roster, the team has shown flashes of potential and with a quarterback who continues to develop in Jacoby Brissett, putting together an unexpected run isn’t completely out of the question. Sunday won’t be an easy task to overcome against one of the league’s best rosters top to bottom in the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, they’re going to have to crack some huge eggs in order to make their omelette — thus, now’s as good a time as any.
With all of this in mind, I’ve put toghether 3 predictions for the Colts Week 10 matchup with the Steelers that — if they come to be — could greatly assist in netting the Colts their biggest win of the year by far. Some of them are big, but their going to have to be in order to get a win Sunday.
Jacoby Brissett Earns First 3-Touchdown Passing Game
Brissett has shown legitimate signs of improvement over the past two weeks against the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans. Largely he’s improved the timing between himself and his receivers, he’s began throwing with more anticipation and has been getting the ball out quicker with more precise accuracy.
In those last two games, Brissett improved upon his completion rate of 59.7% through his first six starts nearly nearly six percentage points to a 65.2% completion rate. He also fired 4 touchdown passes with only 1 interception whereas previous to Week 8 he’d only amassed a 3/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The Colts are expecting to have Denzelle Good back from his stint on IR, helping the depth along the offensive line which has protected Brissett fairly well as of recent. Brissett needs his playmakers to step up as well and he, himself, needs to share the wealth amongst the team’s skill position players to make this happen.
He’s been improving lately, quite noticeably in fact. Now, he needs to turn some heads and make a real statement with his performance against a very good defense Sunday in order to improve his stock alongside the league’s passers.
Donte Moncrief Hauls in First Touchdown Since Week 4
There’s not a lot of evidence to support this projection, but for some reason the Steelers have been a matchup that Moncrief has had some success in the past. Moncrief has only 278 receiving yards on 19 receptions with just a single touchdown thus far into the season and hasn’t had more than 2 catches in any game since Week 6.
However, against the Steelers, Moncrief has hauled in 13 catches for 191 yards (14.7 YPC) and 2 touchdowns in his first three outings against their secondary. And not that it counts for much, but Moncrief also had a catch for 55 yards — most of that being yards after the catch — against the Steelers in their preseason matchup this year.
Last season Moncrief was one of the biggest offenders within a rash of costly drops the team had costing the Colts to be in contention for the win as the game wore on. This would be a great time for a coming out party for Moncrief with an unimpressive first half of the season, and a little getback for how he performed last season.
Colts Tally First 5-Sack Performance of Season
Thus far into the season, the most sacks the Colts have achieved has been when they racked up 4 against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. Outside of that performance, the Colts have averaged less than 2 per outing throughout the rest of their games. This won’t be easy as the Colts are going up against an offensive line that has allowed only 10 sacks on the season (5th) and has yielded the third-fewest QB hits (31) in the league.
When you mix in that Henry Anderson is out for the season, John Simon has been ruled out for the matchup and the fact that the Colts have yet to record a single sack against the Steelers in their last three meetings, the chances of this seem to be a real reach. On the other hand, Jabaal Sheard has become a legit pass rusher as of late, Margus Hunt — who will have to play more in Anderson’s absence — has one of the best pressure percentages in the league and Ted Monachino has been getting a bit more creative recently.
In order for this to be a possibility the Colts need to see even more growth out of rookie pass rusher Tarell Basham, who took a soft step backward in Week 9 after recording his first sack in Week 8. He’ll need to put together a complete game of forcing pressure and disrupting the quarterback as well as fill additional needs from the position.
Barkevious Mingo, who has also been a pleasant surprise, can offer his speed and tenacity so long as Monachino schemes him into successful situations. But, possibly the largest contribution needs to come from the defensive linemen, who haven’t been consistent in creating interior pressure, while maintaining their run stopping ability.
Here’s to a season’s best performance Sunday from the entire team. No problem, right?