Los Angeles comes into the game with a backup running back. Melvin Gordon is holding out, so they are stuck with Austin Ekeler, who isn’t too bad. But he’s not nearly as explosive or as elusive as Gordon, so they might have a tough time running the ball.
Because of that, the Colts should not load up the box. They need to force the Chargers to run the ball to get it out of Phillip Rivers’ hands. Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker are good run stoppers, so they don’t need to do too much more to stop the run.
Denico Autry has also been really good at stopping the run since he’s been in Indy. He did a really good job of it in the preseason. Him and Tyquan Lewis should be able to plug the middle and force Ekeler to go outside. That’s where Leonard and Walker do their best work.
Keeping the defensive backs back allows them to play better coverage in the passing game. It allows them an option to play more zone, although they will be still playing more man this year. That zone coverage should allow Justin Houston to rush the passer quickly too.
Houston’s pass rush is another big key for the rush defense. The Chargers will need to run the ball to balance out the offensive attack. It’s unsure if the Colts can even do this effectively, but if they can they will be in good shape.
This second thing has to deal with the Colts offensive line, which is a big key to the game.