After their best performance of the season in Week 11 against the Bills, the 6-5 Indianapolis Colts are looking to win a fourth straight game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Here are my three bold predictions ahead of Indy’s highly-anticipated matchup against last season’s Super Bowl champs. You can check out the lines for this matchup courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Jonathan Taylor will rush for 100 or more yards for a third straight game
Taylor entered the history books with his monstrous performance against a top-ranked Bills’ rushing defense in Week 11. Tampa Bay’s defense will present a very similar challenge for Taylor, as they’re the league’s No.1-ranked defense in total rushing yards allowed per game with 78.4.
Behind one of the best offensive lines in the entire league, Taylor, now the league’s leading rusher, will look to continue his historical season and rush for 100 or more yards for a third straight game.
When Taylor rushes for 100 or more yards, the Colts are a perfect 6-0 this season. If defensive tackle Vita Vea and linebacker Devin White don’t play (both are listed as questionable), that could work in Indy’s favor. Either way, expect the team to lean on their best offensive player early and often in Sunday’s game.
- Carson Wentz will pass for 200 or more yards and one or more touchdowns
Thanks to Jonathan Taylor’s strong, back-to-back performances, the Colts haven’t asked quarterback Carson Wentz to do all that much over the last few weeks.
While the veteran has improvised on a few key 3rd down situations in each of the last two games, Indy’s offense may ask a little more of its quarterback given how stingy the Bucs’ run defense has been this season.
The Colts and Wentz could look to take advantage of Tampa Bay’s young and inexperienced secondary, as cornerbacks Carlton Davis, Richard Sherman and Rashard Robinson are all on injured reserve. Given the chemistry Wentz and star wideout Michael Pittman Jr. have formed throughout the season, I like both players’ chances having a strong day and connecting in the red zone at least once.
- The Colts’ defense will force Tom Brady into one or more turnovers
Just as Indy’s offense had its best performance of the season against the Bills, so did the teams’ defense. Safety George Odum and cornerback Kenny Moore picked off quarterback Josh Allen, and cornerbacks Rock Ya-Sin and Isaiah Rodgers showcased strong showings against wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
Where I believe Indy’s defense has an advantage is the fact that Brady isn’t a mobile quarterback, so the team won’t have to account for him scrambling outside the pocket. However, that also means the Colts will have to get home with a four-man rush or Tom Brady will pick them apart.
Currently, the Colts’ defense is tied for first the league in total turnovers forced with 25, which has partially helped make up for the injuries to both starting safeties. Bucs’ left guard Ali Marpet will be inactive, meaning Indy’s front four will have a stronger chance at disrupting Brady’s rhythm, which could lead to a turnover or two.