Every Sunday, our partners at DraftKings take an early look ahead to the following week’s games. If you’re looking to get an early start, visit the Opening Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Indianapolis Colts picked up their biggest win of the season when they defeated the New England Patriots at home on Saturday night. The win helped to propel them to the fifth seed currently in the AFC and has placed them in the driver’s seat to get into the playoffs.
While winning in Arizona won’t be easy, it is the least important game for the Colts’ playoffs hopes. This doesn’t mean that there is no reason for the Colts to take the game seriously. They will want to keep momentum after playing passionately and knocking off the rival Patriots. They also have a mathematical chance to win the AFC South and move all the way up to the two-seed for the playoffs.
Working in the Colts’ favor versus the Cardinals is that Arizona has struggled to stop the run. It has become national news that running back Jonathan Taylor is the best back in the league right now and he has separated himself from the rest of the NFL rushers by nearly 500 yards on the ground. He is the engine that drives the Colts’ offense and helps take advantage of an offensive line that looks to dominate in the trenches.
Unlike Saturday night, however, this Cardinals team has the ability to come up with big plays and features incredible offensive balance. Earlier this season, Kyler Murray was a clear MVP frontrunner in his own right. He missed some time due to injury and the offense has cooled a bit but the Colts’ defense will have their work cut out for them.
I suppose one nice thing for the Colts' opportunistic defense is that the Cardinals’ offense struggles most in the RedZone. This is important for Indianapolis because this defense thrives on forcing turnovers and mistakes, especially as the field shrinks. As has been the case in most Colts wins this season, winning the turnover battle and getting Taylor going on the ground are keys to success.
It appears that DraftKings has some confidence they’ll be able to do just that, as giving the home field Cardinals only one point on Christmas Day isn’t a vote of supreme confidence.