It has been almost exactly four years since the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts last played each other and neither team bares much resemblance to the 2008 versions of themselves. The Lions moved to 0-14 on that day while the Peyton Manning-led Colts improved to 10-4.
I got together with Colts blogger and editor at Naptown’s Finest, Jeremy Nicholas, for a Q&A in preparation for Sunday’s game.
1. Anyone talking about playoffs for the Colts before the season began would have been laughed at but that is a real possibility now. How are Colts fans adjusting their expectations?
Jeremy Nicholas: The success this season has been both surprising and a bit deceptive. A win is a win, but some of the Colts’ victories have been nail-biters against sub-par teams, and they have rarely played well against playoff-calibur teams. Personally, I picked the Colts to go 8-8 this season, and they are most likely going to do even better than that. The success should be tempered with patience, until this team proves to play hard against tougher opponents.
2. It seems like the Colts win in close games and lose in blowouts. Is that an accurate read and if so what do they need to do to even out their performances?
JN: Yes, the only over .500 team that the Colts have played tight with are the Green Bay Packers. The Colts came back from 21 points down to win a last-second shocker at home. Luck and this often-injured defense have both looked flat on the road, so that will be the big difference. If the Colts can learn to step up in away games, things will start to look better. They will have to get better on the road, if they expect to have any success in the playoffs.
3. What area do you look for the Colts to have success against the Lions?
JN: Luck is breaking rookie records left and right. He and Reggie Wayne have been playing very well with each other, and the rest of the youthful offensive weapons are coming along very well together. I could see Luck putting up big numbers through the air, in attempts to keep up with a high-powered Detroit offense.
4. What area can the Lions exploit?
JN: Conerback Vontae Davis will play on Sunday, after missing a few weeks. I doubt that return will help much against Megatron. The Colts have yet to deal with a wide out of his physical stature, and with all of the injuries in the Indianapolis seconday, it could get ugly early.
5. What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
JN: The Colts have played with a lot of poise this season, even after ugly losses, or even when losing by a large margin. This team can dig in deep and grind out a game, in classic smash-mouth fashion. They will have to try and keep the ball out of Megatron’s hands by controlling the clock. All I can hope for is that maybe the Lions have a bit of a turkey hangover from that last-second OT loss on Thanksgiving. I could see the Colts coming out on top, 33-to-30.
Check out Naptown’s Finest for more on the Colts.