Luck Makes Monday Night Debut for Colts Against Chargers

The Indianapolis Colts have taken that step toward becoming one of the elite teams in football, and wins over two of the NFC’s favorites to get to the Super Bowl offer much evidence of that. On Monday night the Colts make another trip to the west coast as they take on the San Diego Chargers in an ESPN-televised game that gets underway at 8:30 PM ET at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

The Colts are 4-1 after a dramatic win over Seattle last Sunday, while the Chargers have gone a very eventful 2-3. In the pro football odds that have been established at Bookmaker.eu, this is a pick’em:

Indianapolis Colts pick
San Diego Chargers pick

And the NFL total posted on the game:

Over 50 Points -110
Under 53 Points -110

The Colts came from twelve points down to beat the Seahawks last Sunday, and that could be a real turning point in the season. Not that they were doing badly; indeed, they had already beaten San Francisco at Candlestick Park. But this was a game where they had to summon up a lot of guts against an undefeated team. And now they move on while hoping that they don’t get flat.

Andrew Luck plays his first Monday night football game. And there is no reason to think he can’t respond with the spotlight on him; after all, he had that enough when he was at Stanford. Luck has thrown only two interceptions this season, and he isn’t at all confused when he gets into pressure situations. The Colts (+1700 to win the Super Bowl in the futures at Bookmaker) have converted 50% of their third downs with him at the helm.

He’s got weapons. T.Y, Hilton is benefiting from having Reggie Wayne on the other side, and he is averaging 17 yards a catch. Wayne has caught 28 passes. What Luck needs is for something a little better from Trent Richardson, who was acquired from Cleveland a few weeks ago, because Ahmad Bradshaw is going to miss the rest of the season with a neck injury.

Philip Rivers had been sailing along, almost mistake-free, until the Sunday night game the Chargers played in Oakland, when he had to endure three interceptions. San Diego didn’t seem to show up for that one, turning it over five times overall and dropping a 27-17 decision. Rivers still has a 110.2 quarterback rating, which is actually much higher than that of Luck.

There seems to be a revolving door of sorts when it comes to injuries with the Chargers. They have lost starting offensive tackle Mike Harris, and will probably be without guard Chad Rinehart. Rookie tackle DJ Fluker is hobbled with a calf injury. But left tackle King Dunlap, who they’ve missed, is back in action after his concussion. At running back, Ryan Mathews, another concussion victim, may miss this game, but coach Mike McCoy feels confident with Danny Woodhead as his every down back. Woodhead has caught 31 passes out of the backfield already.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will be facing off against his brother John, who is the defensive coordinator with San Diego. We would call this as an advantage for the Colts. Another edge for Indianapolis is that their quarterback does not have to deal with the guy who terrorized opposing passers for years on their behalf. Dwight Freeney, who was signed by the Chargers in the off-season, has a quad injury and is out for the year.

On the technical side, San Diego has not been a strong home team against the NFL odds. The Chargers have covered just six of their last 17 games at Qualcomm Stadium.

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