Predicted Score: Colts 28, Chargers 13
Indianapolis: Thanks to the Patriots perfect regular season, the defending Super Bowl champs are flying under the radar with little pressure to repeat their championship season… a great spot to be in. Another great spot to be in is playing the Chargers at home with payback on your mind. One of the Colts' three loses this season came against San Diego (21-23) in an odd game that featured six interceptions by Peyton Manning and a 29-yd field goal miss by Adam Vinatieri all with Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, and Anthony Gonzalez on the sideline. Indianapolis has overcome significant injury problems this season including losing defensive end Dwight Freeney but the return of Marvin Harrison this week will be a boost for Peyton Manning and just one more problem for the Chargers to loose sleep over. And don't forget about the Colts defense, which gave up the fewest points in the league (16.4 points per game) and only two rushing touchdowns at home this season. Paybacks are a #@#@.
- Start: QB Peyton Manning, RB Joseph Addai, WR Reggie Wayne, TE Dallas Clark
- Consider: WR Anthony Gonzalez
- Sit: WR Marvin Harrison
San Diego: Sure the Chargers beat the Colts this season but that aberration coupled with the struggle to beat an injury-riddled Titans team last week doesn't impress me much. Throw in the fact that Antonio Gates will likely miss this game with a dislocated big toe and the word "blowout" comes to mind real quick. The Chargers are putting on a happy face saying Gates "is making progress" in rehab but don't be shocked when Brandon Manumaleuna trots out on the field for San Diego's first offensive possession. With Gates on the sidelines, more pressure will be heaped on LaDainian Tomlinson who the Colts will surely key on, meaning Philip Rivers will have to make plays with Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson to keep this game respectable. A tough task consider Indianapolis has one of the best pass defenses in the league (172.8 yds/game) never allowing a quarterback to throw for more than 260 yards in any game.
- Start: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, WR Chris Chambers,
- Consider: QB Philip Rivers, WR Vincent Jackson
- Sit: TE Antonio Gates, WR Craig Davis, Chargers D/ST