The Colts face their first road opponent this week, as they travel to FedEx Field to battle the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are boasting a new look offense this season, featuring quarterback Alex Smith (formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs) and late preseason addition, running back Adrian Peterson (2012 League MVP). The last time these two teams met was in 2014. That game went very well for the Colts, as they cruised to a 49-27 victory, thanks to 5 Andrew Luck touchdown passes. The two teams do not play each other very frequently, but the Colts historically own the matchups, going 20-12 in a series that dates back to 1950. Indianapolis has won 4 of the last 5 games in the series, not taking a loss since 2002.
Indianapolis should expect to hear added pressure around the NFL this week, as a loss to the Redskins would mark a fifth straight year of starting their season 0-2. Coming off of a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis looks to build on the positives, of which there are a few. The Colts defense is deceptively one of those positives. Even though they squandered a 13 point lead, the Colts defense actually found some success in containing Andy Dalton and big play receiver AJ Green. Indianapolis forced an early interception due to great pressure by the defensive line, and recovered an AJ Green fumble. Safety, Matthias Farley nearly recovered a second Green fumble, after knocking the ball loose in the 4th quarter.
Another bright spot in the Colts defense was rookie linebacker Darius Leonard. Leonard played the most snaps of any Colts defender (56), and would go on to have 9 total tackles and a fumble recovery. The second round draft pick out of South Carolina State, could end up being a building block for a young Colts defense that is looking to establish an identity.
Of course, we can’t forget about Andrew Luck’s passing performance! The veteran quarterback shook off the rust, and compiled an impressive statistical performance. Going 39-53 (73%) with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, Luck showed his shoulder is as healthy as ever. Hopefully, he won’t have to throw 53 times every week, but it is good to know that his arm can handle the workload.
Even with a healthy Andrew Luck, Indianapolis will have their work cut out for them this week. The Washington Redskins are coming off of a solid 24-6 road victory against last year’s #6 defense, the Arizona Cardinals. Led by Alex Smith, Washington had a huge 21 point second quarter and never looked back on a dominant day. Smith’s stat line for the day was 21-30/255 yards/2 touchdowns/0 interceptions. Arizona running back David Johnson would put a touchdown on the board with 5:47 left in the game, but it was too little too late for the Cardinals. The Redskins rushing attack was also at work, with their running backs totaling 168 yards on 34 carries. Most of the ground damage was dealt by Adrian Peterson, who carried the ball 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown.
To me, the score of the Cincinnati Bengals game didn’t indicate how close the Colts were to actually winning. Perhaps if not for a late Jack Doyle fumble, the result may have been much different. That being said, I don’t think the week one result should all be put on Doyle. The Bengals closed the week one matchup with 24 unanswered points, as the Indianapolis offense struggled to put together scoring drives in the second half. Going into this weekend, you can expect the Colts coaching staff to preach playing a full four quarters of football. The return of left tackle Anthony Castonzo (and potentially running back Marlon Mack) will help the Colts, but I think the Redskins defense will still be a little too tough for this Indianapolis offense.
My week 2 prediction:
Colts 20 Redskins 24
Photo Credit (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)