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Three keys for the Colts

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Jan 3, 2009.

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    <em>Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky</em> <p>SAN DIEGO -- Here are three things I think have to happen for the Colts to have their best chance to win Saturday night against the Chargers.</p> <p>I acknowledge up front there is no rocket scientology involved in this formula.</p> <p><strong>Protect Manning</strong>: Against 3-4 defenses in the playoffs -- and they've belonged to good teams like New England, Pittsburgh and San Diego -- <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=1428" shape="rect" target="_new">Peyton Manning</a> has gotten <a href="/blogs/afcsouth/0-7-276/Manning-s-playoff-record-vs--3-4-defenses-not-good.html" shape="rect" target="_blank">sacked more often</a> and thrown more interceptions. Once again, the Colts do not have the full offensive line they'd prefer. Dan Federkeil will be at right guard with <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=11293" shape="rect" target="_new">Mike Pollak</a> out hurt.</p> <p><strong>Minimize big plays</strong>: San Diego's been an explosive team. If the Colts can make <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=5529" shape="rect" target="_new">Philip Rivers</a> be patient and have to work super hard to drive the field, they'll get an edge. <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=3539" shape="rect" target="_new">Dwight Freeney</a> and <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=4596" shape="rect" target="_new">Robert Mathis</a> are rested. They need to wreak some havoc and get the Chargers off rhythm -- something that didn't happen in last year's playoff game.</p> <p><strong>Run at least a little</strong>: Yes, the Colts can get yards out of <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=9616" shape="rect" target="_new">Joseph Addai</a> and <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=2893" shape="rect" target="_new">Dominic Rhodes</a> as part of the passing game. But if the Chargers stuff the run and make it a non-factor early, I would think the home team won't buy any play-action fakes from there. The Colts don't have to run well to win, but they may have to run well enough -- or at least often enough -- to make play-action a believable piece of their game and for it to create any hesitation for the Chargers defense.</p>

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