Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers Preview and Pick

Indianapolis Colts (7-1) -3 , o/u 49 at San Diego Chargers (4-4), 8:15 pm Eastern Sunday, NBC
by Zman of

One team looking to rebound from a very tough and emotional loss takes on another team looking to regroup after taking a pounding when the Indianapolis Colts visit the San Diego Chargers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Indianapolis, as we all know, suffered its first defeat of this season when it blew a 10-point lead in the last nine minutes of last week’s 24-20 loss to New England. So the Colts, now at 7-1, lead the AFC’s South Division by a single game over the second-place Tennessee Titans.

On the other side of this match-up, San Diego allowed Minnesota rookie RB Adrian Peterson to set a new NFL single-game rushing record last week in a disheartening 35-17 loss to the Vikings. So the Chargers, now 4-4, sit in a tie atop the mediocre AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs.

On the season, Indy is a profitable 6-2 against the spread, 4-0
straight up and 2-2 ATS on the road.

San Diego is 4-4 vs. the numbers this year, 3-1 both SU and against the spread at home.

These two teams last met in December of 2005, when the Chargers went to Indy and beat a 13-0 Colts team 26-17.

This season, the Chargers are outscoring opponents on average 24-21, but are getting outgained 355-309 and outrushed 126-113.

The Colts are outscoring foes this year 31-16, outgaining opponents 390-282 and outrushing them 138-107.

Also, while the Colts rank ninth in the league with an average time-of-possession of 30:47, the Chargers, thanks to the lack of a consistent running game (SD mustered just 42 ground yards last week vs. Minnesota), rank only 21st at 29:18.

Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning is having a solid, if unspectacular, season so far, completing 65% of his passes for a 14/4 TD/INT ratio and a 100.8 passing rating.

His Sunday counterpart, San Diego QB Philip Rivers, has hit on 61% of his throws so far this season for a 10/8 TD/INT ratio and an 82.9 passing rating.

These two teams have played three common opponents so far this season. Both teams beat Houston San Diego by a 35-10 tally, Indianapolis 30-24 and both teams beat Denver the Chargers by a 41-3 score, the Colts 38-20. And both teams also lost to New England San Diego by a 38-14 tally, the Colts 24-20.

Indy may have to go with a depleted receiving corps this weekend. WR Marvin Harrison (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, fellow WR Anthony Gonzales is out with a dislocated thumb, and TE Dallas Clark is day-to-day (but aren’t we all?) after suffering a concussion last week.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at rank the Colts second in the league at 34.3, the Chargers seventh at 23.8.

The o/u is 3-5 in Indy games this year, which are averaging 46 points per, while the totals are 5-3 in San Diego games, which are averaging 44 points.

The Colts opened as three-point road chalk for Sunday night’s game, with a total of 49. Indy has since been bet up a half-point at most sportsbooks, while the total has been bet down a half-point or so. Also, the Colts are listed at anywhere from -185 to -210 on the various moneylines, with the Chargers getting right around +170 as home dogs.

Zman’s Pick: The Chargers are a LIVE dog here! They will indeed need 110% from star RB LaDainian Tomlinson and we think he’ll be up to the task. Indy is a bit banged up which was just enough to put us over the fence on this one instead of passing.