Monday Night Football features a battle of AFC West versus South as the Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) take on the Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1). The Colts will host this one at Lucas Oil Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
After beating the Tennessee Titans 17-14 last week, the Chargers come into this matchup having won back-to-back games. In last week’s win, Justin Herbert threw for 313 yards, but he didn’t have a touchdown and threw two interceptions. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley both had rushing touchdowns.
The Colts set a record last week, but for all the wrong reasons. After leading 33-0 at halftime, they set the record for the largest lead ever blown as they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 39-36 in overtime. Matt Ryan threw for just 182 yards and a touchdown in the defeat, while Zack Moss had 81 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Chargers are the favorites in this one despite playing on the road. They are -210 to win, while the Colts’ moneyline sits at +176. The spread features Indianapolis +4.5 (-118), and the over/under for total points is 45.5.
Chargers Look To Clinch Playoff Berth
At 8-6, the Chargers sit in second in the AFC West, but with a win on Monday, they can clinch a playoff berth. They will look to get that done as road favorites against a struggling Colts team.
The Chargers’ offense is led by quarterback Justin Herbert. This season, he has thrown for 4,019 yards, 21 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. This success has helped the Chargers have the 14th-best offense in the NFL, averaging 22.3 points per game (24.1 on the road).
If Herbert’s line can give him enough time, he has a litany of weapons to turn to. Austin Ekeler ( 692 yards rushing, 635 yards receiving, 14 combined touchdowns), Joshua Palmer (714 yards receiving, three touchdowns), Mike Williams (693 yards receiving, four touchdowns), and Keenan Allen (486 yards receiving, two touchdowns) are all weapons at his disposal.
The Chargers have struggled a bit on defense. They currently rank 25th overall, allowing opponents an average of 24.3 points per game.
Colts Turn To Veteran Quarterback In Lost Season
The Colts have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, and with that, there will be some roster changes moving forward. One of the more notable ones for this week will be at quarterback, where Nick Foles will get the start, and Matt Ryan has been relegated to third string.
For Foles, this will be his first action of the season. Last year, with Chicago, he played in just one game, where he threw for 250 yards and a touchdown. His last significant amount of playing time came in 2020 when he threw for 1,852 yards, ten touchdowns, and eight interceptions in nine games with the Bears.
In the backfield, with Jonathan Taylor done for the season, expect Deon Jackson and Zack Moss to split the load. Jackson has rushed 57 times for 191 yards and a touchdown this season. Moss has rushed 31 times for 112 yards.
Defensively, the Colts rank 23rd overall, allowing opponents 24.1 points per game. Sadly, this is better than their ranks on offense, where they rank 29th, averaging just 17.5 points per game.
Take Los Angeles To Win And Cover
The biggest trap for the Chargers in this one is if they look past the Colts to their next two games with the Rams and Broncos. With their last three victories being by an average margin of just 3.3 points, expect the Chargers to not look past anyone at this point.
Looking at the trends, the Chargers are 4-1 in their last five against the Colts, and they are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven road games. Furthermore, they are 12-2 against the spread in their last 14 road games against Indianapolis.
As for the Colts, they are just 1-7 in their last eight games, and they are 1-4 in their last five at home.
With only one team having something to play for in this one, and the other relying on backups and aging veterans, expect the former to win. Take Los Angeles to both win and to cover the modest 4.5-point spread (-104).