Foles trying to give Colts fresh start against Chargers
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (8-6) at INDIANAPOLIS (4-9-1)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Chargers by 3 1/2
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chargers 8-5-1; Colts 6-8
SERIES RECORD: Chargers lead 19-11
LAST MEETING: Chargers won 30-24 in OT, Sept. 8, 2019 in Los Angeles.
LAST WEEK: Chargers beat Titans 17-14; Colts lost to Vikings 39-36 in OT
CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (31), PASS (2), SCORING (14)
CHARGERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (28), PASS (11), SCORING (25)
COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (25), PASS (19), SCORING (29)
COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (20), PASS (10), SCORING (24T)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chargers plus-3; Colts minus-12
CHARGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. The two receivers have struggled with injuries, missing 11 total games this season. But with both healthy over the past two weeks, Williams and Allen have combined for 30 receptions, 361 yards and one score. Not surprisingly, the Chargers have won each game and are closing in on clinching a playoff spot.
COLTS PLAYERS TO WATCH: RBs Deon Jackson and Zack Moss. With Jonathan Taylor on injured reserve (ankle) and interim coach Jeff Saturday committed to running the ball, Indy needs this tandem to be productive. Jackson has been solid this season and Moss is coming off his best game since joining the Colts. They’ll need this combo to keep it close.
KEY MATCHUP: Chargers QB Justin Herbert vs. Colts pass rush. Herbert has league highs in completions (76), yards (818) and touchdowns (eight) throwing on the run while Indy has struggled against quarterbacks who escape the pocket. No, Herbert isn’t the same running threat as some other quarterbacks but containing him will be the key to Indy’s success.
KEY INJURIES: Chargers S Derwin James (quadriceps) returned to practice Thursday after missing the past two games. CB Kemon Hall (groin) is questionable. … Taylor and three-time All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard (back) will both miss the rest of this season and it’s also unclear whether Pro Bowl CB Kenny Moore II (ankle) will return after missing the past two games.
SERIES NOTES: Indy has lost four of the past five and seven of the past nine in the matchup of relocated franchises. … The Colts have a winning record in only one of four venues these teams have played, going 7-6 at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. … The Chargers hired GM Tom Telesco after he spent 15 seasons with the Colts. … Philip Rivers played 16 seasons with the Chargers before finishing his 17-year career in Indy. … The late Johnny Unitas took the opposite trek, playing 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts before finishing his career in 1973 with San Diego.
STATS AND STUFF: Los Angeles’ simplest playoff-clinching scenario would be beating the Colts and getting some help. … The Chargers have won two straight and three of their past four. … Los Angeles lost prime-time road games at Kansas City and San Francisco earlier this season. … Herbert needs 37 completions to break his single-season career high set last season (443) and two total touchdowns to tie Dan Marino (100) for the most by a quarterback in his first three seasons. Herbert is the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. … RB Austin Ekeler ranks eighth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,327) and shares the league lead for total touchdowns (14) with Jamaal Williams of Detroit. He needs five receptions to become the NFL’s sixth running back with 100 receptions in a season. … LB Kahlil Mack has seven of the Chargers 28 sacks this season. … The Chargers defense has allowed at least 24 points eight times this season, with five resulting in losses. … Indy has lost four straight under Saturday and seven of their past eight overall. … The Colts became the third AFC team eliminated from playoff contention with Jacksonville’s victory over the New York Jets on Thursday. … QB Matt Ryan has been benched for the second time this season and QB Nick Foles will make his first start since Dec. 26, 2021. … Taylor, last year’s NFL rushing champ, finishes this season with 861 yards in 11 games. … LB Zaire Franklin is fourth in the league in tackles (145) and needs 19 tackles to break Leonard’s single-season franchise record set in 2018. … Indy is tied for fourth in the league with 40 three-and-outs this season. They’re seventh in three-and-out rate (24.0%). … Since 2018, only eight rushers have topped the 100-yard mark against Indy, tied for second fewest in the league.
FANTASY TIP: Allen, Williams and Herbert could all have big days. Williams has topped the 100-yard mark in five straight road games and Herbert has three straight 300-yard games. And they’re playing a defense that has given up 72 points in its past two second halves.
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