Doing The Playoff Math
The Indianapolis Colts appear to be the better team. They are clearly the favorite to win. Vegas has the San Diego Chargers as 10 point dogs. NFL On Fox pre-game prognosticators Terry, Howie and Jimmy all picked Indy without hesitation. Luckily for Chargers fans, they are still going to play the game just to make sure.
Are the Colts truly so dominate? To be sure, and to pass the time before tomorrow’s showdown, let’s break down the battle by position.
Quarterback: Chargers have Phillip Rivers, Colts have Peyton Manning– there is no comparison. Colts win.
Running back: Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson, Colts have Joseph Addai– the leagues leading rusher is a class above. Chargers win.
Wide receivers: Chargers have Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson, Colts have Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Chambers is starting to really mesh with the team. Harrison is a machine, but he’s missed a few weeks due to injury. Although he’ll play Sunday it might take a while for him to get back in a rhythm. Still, a Marvin Harrison at 75% is still better than most in the league. Colts win.
Tight end: Chargers have Antonio Gates, Colts have Dallas Clark. Gates is supremely doubtful for the game. His absence is incalculable. Clark is a beast and feeling fine. Colts win due to injury.
Offense: Both o-lines can protect their quarterback. Rivers was only sacked 22 times this season, Manning 21 times. Both o-lines opened holes for a 1,000+ yard rushing back. Both are considered near the top of the league. But overall the Chargers were 7th this season in rushing offense, but the Colts were 18th. On pass offense the Colts were 6th, while the Chargers were 26th. Team offense… Chargers 5th, Colts 3rd. I have to call it a draw.
Defense: With rushing defense, overall the Colts were 15th in the league. Chargers were 16th. Pass defense had Colts finish 2nd, Chargers 14th. The Colts had the best total team defense in the league while the Chargers were 5th. The Colts also had the second least points scored against. The edge here goes to the very stingy defense of the Colts.
Does your head hurt yet?
Bottom line: this game doesn’t appear to be so out of hand. On paper, the Chargers seem to hold their own. Let’s hope they live up to the paper.