The Colts are coming off a bye week in Week 7, whereas the Lions are coming off an incredible last-second win vs. the Atlanta Falcons. When I say “last-second,” I do mean, literally, last-second, as the Lions scored a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. However, in perfect Lions fashion, they did their best to miss the extra point, as Danny Amendola ripped off his helmet, pushing the PAT attempt to 48 yards. Luckily for the Lions, it didn’t matter as they pulled off the improbable last-second win.
The Colts are a different story, as they used Week 7 to get healthy and see if they can make a run to the playoffs this season. Darius Leonard will likely be back this week, which is a very welcome sign for this Colts defense. It takes an already above-average defense and pushes them towards the league’s best.
Now, without further ado, time for the keys to victory.
1) Run The Ball:
I have been saying this all year, but the Colts are a run-first team. Jonathan Taylor is having a very good rookie year so far and I see that continuing this Sunday vs. the Lions. The Lions are currently 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. The Lions have struggled to defend the run for years, and being honest, I can’t remember the last time the Lions were actually good at stopping the run. Take advantage of that and run the ball down their throats, which will open up the play-action game for Philip Rivers.
2) Don’t Beat Yourself:
The Lions are actually +3 this season in the turnover department. So, when I say, “Don’t beat yourself,” I am not necessarily referring to the Lions in the turnover department.
For as long as I have been watching the NFL, it seems as if the Lions just find ways to lose games. It doesn’t matter the opponent, but they somehow always seem to find a way to lose. It’s not always the players’ fault. Sometimes, the coaches make a bad decision; sometimes, the referees make a bad call; sometimes, it is just bad luck — but it usually leads to the same result.
I know, I know; you’re going to say, “But did you watch the game last week?”
Yes, I did, and let’s not kid ourselves: the Falcons are the same exact way. If Todd Gurley doesn’t score that touchdown (yes, you know which I am referring to), the Lions do not win that game last week. The Falcons are better at losing games than the Lions — and trust me, that’s saying something.
Now, enough of that. I no longer will be picking on the Lions today, because they are a very difficult team to play. Matthew Stafford is a nightmare in the fourth quarter, as his comebacks have become the stuff of legend. There are very few quarterbacks in the entire league I would rather have when needing a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. However, if the Colts play this game the right way, they won’t give Stafford a chance to make a miraculous comeback.
Don’t beat yourselves in this game and we’ll be heading into Week 9 at 5-2.
3) Don’t Let Kenny Golladay Beat You:
I mentioned Kenny Golladay briefly in my rest of the season preview last week. Kenny Golladay missed Weeks 1 & 2 this season, and the Lions lost both of those games. In the four weeks since his return, they are 3-1. Not only has their record improved, but their entire offense looks completely different.
In Weeks 1 & 2, the Lions averaged only 22 points per game. In the four games since Golladay’s return, they’re averaging 29.5 points per game.
Golladay is a special receiver and the Colts will have their hands full. Luckily for the Colts, they have been excellent in their passing defense this season, allowing under 200 YPG, second only to the Washington Football Team. (Come on, really; how do you not still have a name?) Golladay is a matchup nightmare for any secondary, but the Colts are well-equipped to contain him.
This is going to be a very good game. I think that as long as the Colts are able to run the football successfully, limit big plays to Kenny Golladay, and manage to not beat themselves, they will win this game.
The Lions may be great at finding ways to lose games, but that doesn’t mean they are not a talented team. The Colts have an excellent opportunity to come out of the bye week strong and show they’re a team to be reckoned with on the road.
(Featured Image Credit: Colts.com)