San Diego Chargers (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-4 SU, 6-3-1 ATS), 8:20 pm EST, NFL Week 12, Sunday, November 28, 2010, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds:Chargers +3/Colts -3
Over/Under Total: 51.5
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On Sunday, the suddenly streaking San Diego Chargers face a real test as they go up against the Colts in Indianapolis on the Sunday night game. On Monday, the Chargers finally put it together, as they romped to a 35-14 win and an easy cover against the Broncos. It was their 3rd consecutive win and cover and the Chargers look poised for big second-half of a season that began horribly. The Colts, meanwhile, sit at 6-4, but with massive personnel losses beginning to resonate negatively, this team faces a potentially problematic playoff future.
A lot of teams would be happy at 6-4, but not the perennial AFC powerhouse Indianapolis Colts. In 2008, they began 3-4 and went on to win their last 9 games, so you can never rule them out completely. Its just that the passing game looks a bit more ragged than in previous years. Reggie Wayne is still getting the job done, but Dallas Clark is out for the year, Austin Collie is banged up, and 2009 playoff-hero Pierre Garcon is not having a very productive campaign. Running back Joseph Addai is also hurt and questionable for Sunday and this offense is just not as consistently potent as in other years.
Nevertheless, Peyton Manning still has managed to put up another 3000-yard season after only 10 games, in spite of the key injuries on offense. They looked great storming back against the Patriots on Sunday. Almost coming back from a 17-point 4th quarter deficit, before Manning threw an interception. Mannings expression seemed to indicate he wished he had the tools hes accustomed to having to carve up opposing defenses. With some bigtime playmakers coming back, perhaps the Colts can find their mojo again. They should be good and irritated on Sunday at home and look for Peyton to be playing with an intense focus.
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Now that the Chargers appear to have their special teams affairs in order, they seem ready to make their customary second-half romp through the season. In forging to a .500 record at 5-5, they have shown why so many people were excited about them in the first place. The Chargers have the #1 offense and defense in the NFL and it finally looked like it on Monday night. The NFLs leading secondary and an improving pass rush look to give Manning some issues.
The Colts could use Addai for this game. Their run game has struggled all season. Without that extra dimension, the Chargers D will be able to key in on the Colts passing attack. Right now, the Colts receivers lack the seasoning to deal with a Chargers secondary that is becoming increasingly stingy. This San Diego defense was really impressive on Monday night. After the Broncos marched down the field for a barely-contested opening touchdown, you would have received huge odds that San Diego would score 35 unanswered points over the next 3 quarters, but they did just that. This defense is good and can adapt well.
More bad news for the Colts is that Antonio Gates will be getting back into the fold and star receiver Vincent Jackson will finally be available for this game. If the Chargers were able to win their last 3 with a bootleg receiving crew, it should very potent on Sunday with these guys returning. Another potentially game-breaking variable is the resurgent San Diego running game, headed by hard-nosed fullback Michael Tolbert, who ran for over 100 against Denver. Indy is 30th in the league in run defense, which might allow the Chargers to have a lot of variety in their attack in this game.
Scotty L’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: While the Chargers looked great on Monday night, it should be kept in its proper perspective. Its one thing to come back from a 7-0 deficit at home to beat a bad Denver team and quite another to come into Indy and beat a ticked-off Colts team in front of a rabid hometown crowd. Payton Manning didnt get to where he is by not winning games he needs to win.
The Chargers, however, are just higher in spirits and playing closer to their full potentialgetting better with every game. They are beginning to click after a lull in their season and the Colts might be in that same down period of their season. A month ago, any bettor would salivate at the thought of getting the Colts in this matchup at home minus only 3, but things have changed. These teams could meet again with more at stake and the result might be different, but right now the Chargers are the better team. Take the Chargers getting 3 points.
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