Look, folks - Sunday night might get ugly. But if there’s any chance that the Colts could pull off the upset in Kansas City this weekend, here are 4 key match-ups they absolutely have to win.
- Quincy Wilson vs. Travis Kelce
It’s no secret that Indy has had trouble stopping the middle of the field this year. Unfortunately, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are as good as any tandem in the league at exploiting those inside seams. As my colleague Stephen Reed mentioned this past week, we’re likely to see Quincy Wilson - not the linebackers - try and play Kelce in coverage. Now Wilson isn’t going to stop Kelce, but even limiting him to under 60 yards would be a massive win. Playing Safety for the first time since high school, I don’t have super high hopes that Quincy can do just that, but here’s to hoping.
- Cain / Campbell vs. Chiefs Corners
Simply put, Deon Cain and Parris Campbell have to step up. Near the bottom of the league in separation yards per route run, Cain hasn’t been able to get anything going this year and that has to change if Indy wants to keep pace with the Chiefs high-octane aerial attack. Meanwhile, Campbell doesn’t necessarily have to reinvent his entire game, but taking an explosive play to the house like he did so many times in college would certainly help.
- Eric Ebron vs. Hands
It’s been a problem throughout his career, and the drop bug came back to bite Eric Ebron last week against Oakland. There were at least 3 passes that he definitely should’ve come down with, and offensive errors like that can’t happen when you’re facing an unbeaten Super Bowl contender. Maybe he needs to throw some syrup on those gloves, but Ebron can’t continue to drop balls in crucial situations.
Eric Ebron on his 3-drop outing today:— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) September 30, 2019
“I was shitty today and it sucked."https://t.co/9jEeOIFS4u
- Frank Reich vs. aggressive play-calling
Much has been made of Frank Reich’s offensive strategy to this point in time, and I’ve honestly had no problem with it. Ushering in Jacoby Brissett, Reich has based the offense on simple and short passes, playing an efficient style that tries to remove needless miscues. It’s almost exactly what Reich did last year with Andrew Luck, before taking the reins off near Week 5. Now that we’re a quarter of the way through the season, expect the scheme to see a similar uptick in aggressiveness, which is exactly what Indy will need to succeed in a game like this. Probably going to be playing from behind, throwing deep and executing riskier passes will be a must. Now it’ll likely blow up in the Colts face, but that’s the only chance they’ve got. You aren’t going to beat Patrick Mahomes operating at 6 or 7 yards an attempt.