We are now just one day away from the Colts big matchup against the Redskins in D.C. The Redskins are a very good young team who absolutely dominated the Arizona Cardinals in all facets last week. If the Colts are going to have a chance to win this game, they must limit these five — actually six — players on the Redskins:
Adrian Peterson/ Chris Thompson, RBs:
Hard to choose between these two players as both were outstanding in the Redskins opening game against the Cardinals. Starting with Peterson, he looked to be his old self as the Redskins primary ball carrier. The offensive line was opening up holes for him but he was running fast and with a lot of power. He was rarely brought down after first contact as he finished the game with 28 touches for 166 total yards and a touchdown. Colts really have to contain Peterson if they hope to win this game.
Shifting focus to Chris Thompson now, he’s the X-Factor in the Redskins offense. As the third down back/ COP back, Thompson is a weapon who is nearly impossible to cover one on one in space. His elite level quickness and route running is makes him among the best third down backs in the league. The Redskins really utilize him on third downs and in the red zone as their primary target so the Colts will have to make limiting his touches a priority. Last week Thompson had 5 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown along with 5 rushes for 65 yards.
Chris Thompson is so valuable. #Redskins really missed him last year after he got hurt. Great to have him back healthy and appropriate he gets the first Skins TD of the season pic.twitter.com/ah2BFyvev1— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) September 9, 2018
Jordan Reed, TE:
Jordan Reed being back and healthy really changes this Redskins’ offense drastically. Reed is an elite talent at the position and is arguably one of the top receiving tight ends in all of football. He is almost impossible to cover one on one as he is too quick for linebackers and too big and physical for safeties. The former Pro Bowler had 4 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown last week against the Cardinals.
The Colts have to make taking away Jordan Reed a priority this week. Last week, Bengals tight ends were targeted 5 times which resulted in 5 catches for 57 yards. That kind of efficiency can’t be allowed to Jordan Reed, who can create much more after the catch. I think the best plan of attack against Reed will be to devote rookie LB Skai Moore to cover hi primarily in passing situations with a safety rolling over top to help.
Matt Ioannidis, DE:
I could’ve easily gone with any number of players from this Redskins’ defensive line as each player across their front has game breaking potential. I went with Ioannidis though mainly because he has the most favorable matchup against Matt Slauson and just how dominant he has been since the start of last year. Often the forgotten man on the Redskins’ front, Ioannidis is a man amongst boys.
Ioannidis is a talented, young defensive lineman whose strength is his standout trait. He has improved drastically since entering the league as he has developed an impressive bull rush along with working on his pass rush repertoire. Last week, Ioannidis only had 19 pass rushing snaps logged but had three hurries and one sack. The Colts are going to need veteran guard Matt Slauson to have a great game to limit the talented young defensive lineman.
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB:
What more can be said about Ryan Kerrigan? The potential Hall of Famer has been the model of consistency in his NFL career, as he has had 8.5+ sacks every year since 2012. Last season, he notched the second most of his NFL career with 13.0. Kerrigan is a bully on the edge as his strength is almost impossible for right tackles to handle. Even the best tackles in the NFL have trouble with Kerrigan.
This has to be the biggest area of concern for the Colts his Sunday. Kerrigan absolutely feasts on inferior tackles. With Anthony Castonzo suffering a setback this week in practice, it appears that rookie second rounder Braden Smith will likely get the start at right tackle for the Colts. Smith struggled in the preseason playing right tackle as his better position on the line is likely at guard. Kerrigan will likely have his way with Smith this Sunday so hopefully the Colts use a running back to chip that side or go back to the quick passing game that worked well last week.
Ryan Kerrigan just bulldozed the Broncos LT for a sack pic.twitter.com/WkA250aiBH— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 24, 2017
Montae Nicholson, SAF:
Montae Nicholson may be the NFL’s best kept secret. The second year player out of Michigan State was incredible when he played last for the Redskins as he filled that center fielder type safety role for the team. He is an outstanding athlete with an impressive athletic build (6’2” 215 pounds) who seeks out contact. This year, the Redskins looked to expand his role and he looked excellent in the first game. Playing more around the line of scrimmage, Nicholson wreaked havoc in the run game against David Johnson and the Cardinals.
Luck and the Colts’ wide receivers are going to have to be aware of the rangy Nicholson. He has a rare ability of covering the entire backend and he will make wide receivers pay who don’t keep their heads on a swivel. I fully believe in Head Coach Frank Reich’s ability to muster up a game plan that keeps this in mind but Nicholson is a very good young player who will have an effect on this game.