After eight weeks, the Indianapolis Colts have finally taken the lead over the AFC South division. Thanks to a Tennessee Titans’ loss, the Colts have a good chance of taking the division lead. All they had to do was to beat the Houston Texans. And they did well in their goal, rather great, punishing Houston to a 30-17 win at home on Monday Night.
Now they have a chance to add more to this as they face the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. It’s going to be the greatest quarterback of all time versus the best scrambling quarterback of all-time, Peyton Manning versus Michael Vick.
At 5-2, the Colts do not have an easy match-up in store versus the 4-3 Eagles. Philly is getting healthy with Vick and DeSean Jackson back, and a much more meaner Ernie Sims after a fine from the league. The Colts have won all but two of the AFC South crowns. They look to aim for their seventh.
“We’re not concerned about standings,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “We’re concerned about getting better and getting ourselves in the best position to play well on Sunday.”
The Colts are aiming for their fifth consecutive win. The last time Indiana faced Philly, the Colts destroyed them by 24 points in the 2006-07 season. It was led by Joseph Addai, who ran for a career-high of 175 yards and four touchdowns. Addai is questionable for Sunday’s game, however. A win on Sunday would give the Colts strong confidence of taking over the division, despite that they are 1-2 against AFC South teams so far.
“We do have a group that I think has always been extremely focused,” Caldwell said. “The fact of the matter is it’s what we do.”
The Eagles have not beaten Indianapolis since the 1993-94 season. Manning has completed about 70-percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and only one interception in three games versus Philly. Six of those seven touchdowns have come on the road. Oh boy.
A lot of special things are going for Manning, as he is in the top three, two, one…you know, in statistics with only 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He is will on his pace to his third consecutive MVP award along with his fifth-ever. Manning will also start his 200th consecutive game.
“Some days it does feel like it (200 games), and some days it doesn’t,” Manning said. “The fun part is that a lot of those 200 have been wins and hard-fought wins, and it’s been fun preparing for those games with all my different teammates.”
Manning has shown he is capable of winning despite a ton of injures. He helped out Jacob Tamme, as Dallas Clark is out for the season. Austin Collie is most likely to miss his second consecutive game. Manning’s backfield is a huge question-mark as it is uncertain if Addai, Hart, or Donald Brown will play. Most likely, they will. The Eagles allow over 22 points per game on defense, so Manning can get some quick scores in, most likely to a guy like Pierre Garcon or Reggie Wayne.
The offense is good to go, but what about the defense? Can the Colts stop Vick? Can they stop Jackson, too? Vick has about 800 yards passing with six touchdowns and leads the NFL with a 108.8 rating. He could be on his way towards a Pro Bowl, despite missing a few games. Vick also has 187 rushing yards, but could play a bit differently as he doesn’t want another jab to his ribs.
“I definitely have to be smarter when running with the football, trying to get down,” Vick said. “I just have to be conscious of what’s going on out there and try and protect myself.”
Vick has only played the Colts once in his career, and wasn’t good at all, throwing for only 47 yards with an interception and 30 rushing yards for a 38-7 loss to Indianapolis in 2003.
Vick knows what’s in stake now. Vick is going to be happy having his deep-threat back in Jackson, who is coming off a concussion off a very bad to Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson.
“Anytime you get a concussion, obviously it’s not that good,” Jackson said. “I’ll be right back to where I need to be, just going out there and still being able to play and stuff like that.”
The Eagles hope to make up for their terrible loss to the Titans two weeks ago.
“We’re really good. Just to see us go down like that, I know we’re better than that,” Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims said.
None the less, I expect a victory for the Colts, 27-21.