On Thursday night football, the Cincinnati Bengals won 34-23 for the second week in a row. The last time a team won back to back games by the same score was…um…never. So at this rate, the Bengals are going to go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. I digress. This is a Colts article, isn’t it? The Colts were a Jack Doyle fumble away from a potential game-winning touchdown last week. Doubted by most, the Colts proved that they can hang with good teams. When you have the best quarterback in any given game, you will have a chance to win that game.
The challenge increases on Sunday, though, as the Colts head into the nation’s capital. The Redskins are coming off of a 24-6 battering of the Cardinals where their defense looked tough and their offense looked tough. Long story short, the Skins are tough. The Colts’ physicality will be tested in Washington; if they can match the Redskins, they can come away with the win.
DT/DE Denico Autry (Ankle)
OT Anthony Castonzo (Hamstring)
OT/G Denzelle Good (Knee/Wrist)
CB Chris Milton (Concussion)
S Clayton Geathers (Knee)
RB Marlon Mack (Hamstring)
DT Grover Stewart (Shoulder)
WR Ryan Grant (Chest)
S Troy Akpe (Hamstring)
WR Maurice Harris (Concussion)
T Morgan Moses (Knee)
WR Paul Richardson Jr. (Shoulder)
LB Zach Brown (Oblique)
QB Colt McCoy (Thumb)
T Trent Williams (Knee)
Quenton Nelson vs Jonathan Allen
Nelson had a key matchup in last week’s segment against All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Atkins was certainly a handful for the rookie, beating him multiple times. However, Nelson held his own and had himself quite the debut. Despite a sack allowed and a holding, Nelson displayed veteran IQ, Herculean strength, and the hand placement and base of an experienced technician.
Quenton Nelson is really good.
— FPC Colts (@FPC_Colts) September 11, 2018
His adversary this week, Jonathan Allen, is a bit of a step down from Atkins but still a fantastic player. Allen is an excellent athlete and a solid technician who missed all but five games last season due to injury. He was a dominant force against a weak Arizona line, earning an excellent 84.9 PFF grade for the game.
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The Redskins play a 3-4 defense, a scheme that should be very familiar to the Colts’ offense. Allen lines up as a 3-4 defensive end, which is similar in position to a 4-3 defensive tackle like Atkins. Allen and Nelson will certainly have their battles in week two. The Redskins are one of the most talented teams in the NFL when it comes to the trenches; winning individual battles will be key for victory. Hopefully, Nelson can keep up his good form in Washington.
Colts’ Linebackers vs Redskins’ Running Backs
The Redskins’ backfield had a dominant showing against the Cardinals’ defense last week. Adrian Peterson toted the rock 26 times for 96 yards and a score, flashing vintage AP stuff. Chris Thompson ran for 65 yards on five carries, good for a remarkable 13 yards-per-carry. However, this segment is more about their damage through the air. Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson accounted for an unusual 52.2% of the team’s total receiving yards. Peterson caught two balls for 70 yards and Thompson caught six balls for 63 yards and a touchdown. The Skins’ most productive receiver was Jamison Crowder, who caught three passes from 32 yards.
The Colts rely on two rookies as their primary linebackers, Skai Moore and Darius Leonard. Both are coverage specialists and are the two backers on the field in the Colts’ nickel package. Leonard had an excellent game against the Bengals, covering well and playing the run. Skai Moore had a solid day as well. Not only are the Redskins’ running backs heavily featured in Washington’s offense but we all know how much Alex Smith loves his short passing game. Leonard and Moore will have their hands full and a massive responsibility in covering the middle of the field.
Andrew Luck will put up points in this game and keep the Colts in the game. This game will be tough, gritty, and physical. In the end, the Redskins’ excellent ball control and tough defense will be enough to beat the Colts, dropping them to 0-2.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.