The day Andrew Luck has a running game, is the day I'll be a believer in the Colts. I was on the verge of becoming a believer when Ahmad Bradshaw was turning into a fantasy stud once again, however with his season ending injury, the Colts run game is non existent and the team is one dimensional. However the Colts are running into a Bengals team who has made the playoffs the last 3 seasons, but were eliminated in their first game all 3 years, and their stud wide receiver A.J. Green is
doubtful to suit up due to a concussion OUT.
It'll be the Andrew Luck show for Indy, as the team simply cannot count on Daniel Herron or Trent Richardson to carry the team. Herron has big play ability but the team does not feel comfortable giving him too many carries as he has a problem holding onto the ball and the last thing a team needs in a playoff game are turnovers. Richardson on the other hand is questionable with an illness. That could be a blessing in disguise as the team won't have to give him any carries if he doesn't suit up.
Andrew Luck might have to throw the ball 50+ times in this game. Expect T.Y. Hilton and the tight ends, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen to see the majority of the targets. Hilton finished the season with 82 receptions for 1,345 yards and 8 touchdowns. This is the first time in a long time I didn't mention Reggie Wayne when talking about a Colts heavy passing attack. It appears age is catching up to the 36 year old receiver. Hakeem Nicks or Donte Moncrief could play a bigger role than Wayne this weekend.
Luck who threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns will have no easy task against this Bengals defense. Over the last two games, facing Ben Roethlisbger and Peyton Manning the Bengals did their best to contain the two of them. Yes they allowed over 300 yards in both games but they picked them off a combined 5 times.
The Bengals on the other hand have a 2-headed monster running the ball. Led by rookie Jeremy Hill (1,124 yards & 9 TDs) the Bengals have one of the best run games in the NFL. Second year man Giovani Bernard (680 yards & 5 TDs) is also a threat in the passing game, as he caught 43 passes out of the backfield this year for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns in just 13 games.
Hill at 238 lbs is a punishing running back and can really wear down a defense and Bernard who is a speed back comes in for the kill, as he's capable of busting off those long touchdown runs. I honestly feel this is a nightmare matchup for the Colts as their defense struggles against the run.
Any success on the ground will only make things easier for Andy Dalton. Dalton will have a tough day already as he will likely be without A.J. Green but he still does have playmakers in Mohamed Sanu and tight end Jermaine Gresham.
It'll will be interesting as you'll see a ton of passes from the Colts and a ton of runs from the Bengals. I just don't see Indy stopping the Bengals run game, where I can see the Bengals pass rush and secondary slowing Luck and the Colts.
Give me the Bengals at +4 and the under of 49.