INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass before being stopped by Rob Ninkovich #50 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Peyton Manning;Rob Ninkovich
Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Indianapolis Colts.
The Opponent: The Indianapolis Colts, aka the Baltimore Colts, aka CAN’T YOU SEE POOR PEYTON IS DOING THIS ALL BY HIMSELF?!
Record: 6-5. Tied for first in the AFC South. And it’s just like the AFC South to not step up at a time when the Colts could finally get their comeuppance.
The Line: Colts by 5.5. Oooh, 5.5! You don’t see that line often. It’s kinda cute!
Last Game: A dispiriting 36-14 loss to San Diego in which Peyton Manning and the Colts seemed to crumble after eleven weeks of holding it all together with duct tape and Elmer’s glue. Manning threw four picks, two of which were housed. And this one wasn’t like the Colts game against New England the week before, where you sensed they were poised to make it a ballgame down the stretch. No, you got the feeling during this game that Indy was spent, and that it didn’t have the guns to mount any kind of charge. The Chargers were BETTER. Much better.
The Coach: Jim Caldwell, who moonlights as a cigar store Indian.
The Offense: No word on if Austin Collie will be cleared to return to the lineup for the Colts this week after aggravating a concussion that he suffered over a month ago. The Colts are historically inept at running the ball, which wasn’t an issue for them during last year’s Super Bowl run but is now crippling them. Joseph Addai is hurt and has given way to Donald Brown. I had Donald Brown on my fantasy team. He’s useless, I assure you. Then you have Manning, who isn’t as sharp as he was this year but is still great at deflecting any and all blame for his shortcomings.
The Defense: The Colts’ defense is built to hold a lead, but there haven’t been many leads to hold this year. As always, they possess great lateral speed but can be bullied up the middle, especially with Clint Session hurt. Mike Tolbert gutted them last week. Princeton Boy would be well advised to run the ball.
Key Matchup: Manning versus old age. The Colts look tired and beat down, but that doesn’t mean they’re gonna stay that way.