Monday Night Preview  

 

'Monday Night Football': Five things to watch

So what does a Chuck Pagano team look like?

If the past three weeks are any indication, the AFC South might be in for a beating.

The Indianapolis Colts (4-1) enter tonight's "Monday Night Football" tilt with the San Diego Chargers (2-3) riding a three-game win streak. Two of those victories -- over the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks -- revealed a Pagano-led squad with the ability to grind down opponents on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers are frisky under new coach Mike McCoy, but can they hang with the ascendant Colts?

Here's what we'll be watching on Monday night:

1. Philip Rivers has been a vision. The Chargers quarterback is throwing for 322 yards per game with a 73.7 completion percentage. He'll be tested tonight against Indy's secondary. Vontae Davis and Darius Butler have been solid against the pass, and the Colts are holding opposing quarterbacks to a 68.4 rating, per Pro Football Focus.

2. That brings us to young Chargers receiver Keenan Allen. After a slow start, the rookie has hauled in 11 catches for 195 yards and one touchdown over the past two games. San Diego was stung by injuries at wideout before the regular season, but Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown are producing, while Rivers has called upon Allen to "be a staple for us the rest of the season."

Battista: Colts reflect Pagano's grit
The Colts are much more than just a QB. Andrew Luck is great, but Judy Battista points out Indy is all about what coach Chuck Pagano is: resilience. READ

3. The Colts can list Darrius Heyward-Bey as their No. 2 receiver on every depth chart under the sun, but nobody's buying it. Not after the dynamic T.Y. Hilton went off on the Seahawks in Week 5 with five catches for 140 yards and a pair of scores. Hilton didn't appreciate Seattle corner Brandon Browner calling him "light as (expletive)." We'd advise San Diego's D to keep mum -- and try to keep up.

4. Outside of Dwight Freeney (out for the year with a torn quadriceps) the Chargers don't have a single defensive player ranked higher than 30th at their position, per Pro Football Focus. San Diego has been serviceable against the run, but they can't get to the quarterback. If Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano -- Chuck's little brother -- can't find a way to pressure the pocket tonight, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will have his way.

5. Trent Richardson's statement game is still in the mail. After running for 105 yards on 31 carries (for 3.4 yards a clip) in two starts with the Browns, Richardson has 151 yards on 51 attempts for the Colts. That's under 3 yards per rush. So who is Trent Richardson? We can wax poetic about his elusiveness and tell you he's the next Emmitt Smith or LaDainian Tomlinson -- the potential is there -- but it's time for Trent to put his stamp on this offense. Is tonight too soon?

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped every Week 6 game.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15