The Indianapolis Colts will be challenged by the tough 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday but there is a path to victory for Indy.
The honeymoon phase is over for Jeff Saturday and the Indianapolis Colts as the team prepares for their toughest challenge under Saturday. After getting started with a win over a struggling Las Vegas Raiders team, Indy now has to play the Philadelphia Eagles, arguably the best team in the NFL. Philly is entering the game at 8-1 and is coming off its first loss of the season, a factor that could be bad for the Colts. However, Week 10 showed that the Eagles are beatable.
Although it took nine games for Philadelphia to lose, and they have a quality offense and defense, there’s always a path to beating a team. The Washington Commanders showed that on Monday Night Football. Now, Indy has to take what worked well for Washington and combine it with the things Indianapolis does well, and the Colts should be able to win. What exactly are those things?
Well, it’s some things that Indianapolis has done really well in the past but not so much this season, at least at a consistent level. Those things are running the ball on offense and taking the ball away on defense. The Colts will have to look like their 2021 selves to defeat the Eagles.
Colts must turn back the clock to win against Eagles
This is the exact formula that Indianapolis used to win nine games last season. Indy was the second-best rushing offense and also forced the second-most turnovers. If the Colts won a game last season, it was almost a guarantee that Jonathan Taylor was over 100 yards rushing and the defense took the ball away a couple of times. That’s also exactly how Washington defeated Philadelphia in Week 10.
The Commanders ran the ball 49 times for 152 yards. That allowed Washington to possess the ball for 40 minutes and 24 seconds. In the 19 minutes and 36 seconds that the Eagles did have the ball, they often were giving it right back to Washington. Philadelphia entered that game with three total turnovers on the season. Against Washington, they had four, and it ultimately cost them the game.
That means, for the Colts to win, it’s going to take going back to their roots. Forcing the turnovers will likely be a challenge, especially with Shaquille Leonard sidelined. While the defense has been playing well this season, they have not been taking the ball away. Indy only has 10 takeaways on the season, that’s tied for 25th-best in the NFL. Hopefully, the defense can make it a point of emphasis this week.
As far as running the ball, that hasn’t been going all that well for the Colts this season either. Struggling with poor offensive line play, Indianapolis only averages 98.7 yards a game on the ground— 28th in the NFL. That’s with one of the best running backs in the league in the backfield. However, the rushing attack may be turning the corner after the Week 10 performance against the Raiders.
Jeff Saturday challenged the offensive line to figure things out and that challenge led to 147 yards for Jonathan Taylor and 207 total rushing yards. If the offensive line and the offense can put together another ground attack like that, the Colts should be able to hand the Eagles their second-straight loss.