On November 3rd, 2019 the Indianapolis Colts will travel to the City of Bridges to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this Week 9 match-up, I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our Colts.
This overview usually focuses on the history between the Colts and their opponent and (thanks to Peyton Manning) most weeks, history has favored the Colts. This week is a little different as our Colts trail the Steelers 24-6 all time. Recent history hasn’t been kind either, the last win coming back in November of 2008 and before that November of 2005. To find the next win on that list you have to travel all the way back to 1984 and the fourth Colts win took place in 1977. To say this series has been one-sided is an understatement. Fortunately, this week (like all weeks) doesn’t care about the past. Both franchises are in a different place than they’ve ever been, and if the Colts are going to start to even the score, now would be the time to start.
Let’s see what we can expect in week 9.
Chris Boswell is in his fifth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Boswell is off to a good start after a terrible 2018 campaign. On the season he is 13 for 14 with a long of 49 yards. He has also been perfect on his extra point attempts.
Over the course of his career Boswell has been a solid overall kicker. One interesting thing to note; in 2016 Adam Vinatieri (then 44 years old) hit seven kicks of 50 yards or more. Boswell has seven made kicks from 50 plus in his entire career. His career average from deep is 70% so it isn’t as if he has been unusually bad it’s just that the Steelers don’t attempt many long field goals. In a close game this could be an important detail to keep track of.
Jordan Berry is averaging a career best 47.1 yards per punt at the same time his average net yards per punt is only 40.8 which is near the bottom of the league. He’s also only pinned 9 balls inside the 20 yard line, which once again is near the bottom of the league.
Berry isn’t a great punter and there’s a chance we’ll see a lot of him on Sunday. The impact he has on the game isn’t likely to be huge but if he does pin the Colts deep with any kind of consistency it would be surprising.
Ryan Switzer will most likely handle the returns this weekend. This season he’s returned 6 punts for 30 yards and 6 kicks for 106 yards. For his career he’s returned a single punt for a touchdown.
Switzer is a consistent, solid returner who isn’t a real homerun threat.
Final Thoughts for The Week:
The Steelers aren’t as bad as their record. Given the loss of their starting quarterback in week two and the insertion of Mason Rudolph in his place, Pittsburgh has been in all but one of the games they lost, and that blowout came in week one with Ben Roethlisberger healthy.
If you’re a fan of the Steelers, when Roethlisberger went down and all serious thoughts of contending for a title had died, you had to hope that your favorite team would be one that would grow, develop and improve as the season went on. So far that is what they’ve done. They have improved on both sides of the ball but they have question marks at several spots, including quarterback. Rudolph has played well when the coaching staff has protected him but can he play well when the training wheels come off, with the game on the line?
As of right now James Conner is listed as doubtful and if he is unable to play it bodes very well for the Colts’ chances in this game. Though the offense will be without their best skill position player in T.Y. Hilton, for my money (please don’t bet your own based on what I say) the Colts are the better team and they should win this game. I believe this will be a close, hard fought game and if the Colts limit their turnovers they should leave Pittsburgh victorious.
- The Colts defense will rack up three sacks and Justin Houston will come away with two of his own.
- Marlin Mack will have a 25+ touches.
- Jack Doyle will once again be the Colts leading receiver.
- Final Score: