Braden Smith (OT) Vs. Joey Bosa (DE)
After a solid rookie season at right tackle, I’m expecting a big leap in performance from Braden Smith. What better initial test than facing an elite defensive end that will give him a mighty challenge both on the running and passing game.
As Brissett has shown a tendency in the past to hold on to the ball a little too much, it is imperative that the Colts can keep the Chargers pass rush at bay and give Brissett that extra second he might need to make the throw.
Denico Autry (DT) Vs. Chargers’ guards
Autry had a breakout 2018 season, leading the team in sacks while playing in just 12 games. He will look to prove past season’s success was no fluke and that he is indeed a Pro-Bowl caliber defensive tackle.
Unlike Smith, he will not have as tough of a challenge. The Chargers starting guards, Dan Feeney and Michael Schofield III were mediocre at best pass-blockers last season, and Autry has to be salivating at the chance of knocking down Rivers.
Parris Campbell (Slot WR) Vs. Desmond King II (SCB)
Campbell will probably face the toughest matchup of any Colt on the offensive side of the ball. Assuming he will start as the Colts slot receiver (Given his hamstring injury, I think there is a strong possibility that he shares slot duties with Eric Ebron) he will have to face Desmond King, who was arguably the best slot cornerback in the entire NFL last season. No easy task for the rookie here.
Pierre Desir (CB) Vs. Keenan Allen (WR)
After shutting down DeAndre Hopkins in the Wild Card game, the Colts are expecting Desir to take over the CB1 position, which means he will most likely be guarding Chargers #1 receiver Keenan Allen throughout the game.
Despite being banged up with an ankle injury, the Chargers are expecting Allen to suit up on Sunday, and if the Colts plan on shutting down the LA’s high powered offense, then Desir has to keep up with Allen.
Quenton Nelson (LG) Vs. Jerry Tillery (DT)
I loved Jerry Tillery in this year’s Draft and desperately wanted the Colts to take him. While he is not starting just yet, it will be really fun to see how Tillery, an athletic freak, does against his former Notre Dame teammate (also an athletic freak), Quenton Nelson.
I fully expect Nelson to give him his “Welcome to the NFL moment” and pancake him into the ground.