INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts kick off three straight games against NFC South opponents in Week 14 when they travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With a brand new head coach in Bruce Arians — a name very familiar to Colts fans — what can we expect out of this late-season matchup down south?
- Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m. ET
- Tampa, Fla.; Raymond James Stadium
- TV: CBS
- Colts lead, 8-5. The Colts have won three of the last four games dating back to 2003.
- Last game — Week 12 of 2015. Colts won, 25-12.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Bruce Arians
- OC Byron Leftwich
- DC Todd Bowles
- STC Keith Armstrong
OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
- Overall, this was a pretty quiet offseason for the Colts for a change. It was about building onto and shaping the current roster rather than shaking things up or making sweeping changes. Former starting receivers Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman both departed in free agency, and veterans Mike Mitchell and Al Woods also were not re-signed by the team. Offensive lineman Matt Slauson retired following a 10-year career.
- Arians comes in to replace Dirk Koetter as head coach. He brings with him several recognizable names on his staff, including former Colts coaches Clyde Christensen and Joe Gilbert, former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, Cody Grimm (son of legendary offensive line coach, Russ Grimm), as well as former IU quarterback and Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.
- The Bucs brought in several new faces, but perhaps none were bigger than defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who will line up next to Vita Vea on the line. Along with Suh on defense, there are other potential new starters in first-round draft pick Devin White and free agents Deone Bucannon, Shaquil Barrett, Kentrell Brice and Sean Murphy-Bunting.
- One of the Bucs' most recognizable figures, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, is no longer with the team after the two sides parted ways this offseason.
EARLY STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH
- Bruce Arians' Effect On Jameis Winston — Winston is a talented, playmaking quarterback, but this is a pivotal "prove it" year for him. Arians is a known QB guru, so people are very eager to see what kind of effect Arians can have on the fifth-year signal-caller.
- Will The Colts' Pass Rush Rattle Winston? — Arians' system typically involves many long-developing plays including deep dropbacks for the quarterback. With a pass rush that's expected to be improved in 2019, the Colts should have time to get into the backfield consistently and rattle Winston.
- Darius Leonard vs. Devin White — Leonard burst onto the scene with several huge performances throughout his 2018 rookie season, and it included some showdowns on the opposing defenses with other young, star linebackers. This matchup is expected to be one of those occasions, as White is considered to be a stud.
- Colts OT Anthony Castonzo vs. Buccaneers ED Jason Pierre-Paul — It's the Colts' stalwart left tackle against Tampa's best edge rusher. Pierre-Paul has a blend of power and athleticism that should keep Castonzo on his toes.
- Colts G Quenton Nelson vs. Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh — This is a matchup of two of the nastiest linemen in the league, and one that football purists will be watching closely. Will either of them get under each other's skin with their style of play?
- Colts DT Denico Autry vs. Buccaneers G Ali Marpet — Marpet went from Division III college football to one of the best guards in the NFL. Autry's length, strength and athleticism means these two are in for a long day.
- Colts CB Pierre Desir vs. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans — Evans is probably Tampa's most dangerous weapon, bringing size (6-5, 231) and speed (4.53 40-yard dash) to all of his matchups. Desir hangs in there regardless of the opponent, often matching up with the other team's biggest receiver. This could be yet another time in which Desir takes away the opponent's best receiver.
- Colts S Malik Hooker vs. Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard — The Buccaneers' third-year tight end just keeps getting better, and he brings a downfield threat to the position not often seen. There's a good chance the Colts' rangiest defender will have Howard in his crosshairs down the field.
- Favorite: Colts (-3.0)
- Over/Under: N/A
- Passing — QB Jameis Winston (2,992 yards)
- Rushing — RB Peyton Barber (871 yards)
- Receiving — WR Mike Evans (1,524 yards)
- Touchdowns — WR Mike Evans (8)
- Tackles — LB Lavonte David (119)
- Sacks — ED Jason Pierre-Paul (12.5)
- Interceptions — S Justin Evans, S Isaiah Johnson, CB Ryan Smith (1)
COMPARING 2018 STATS
- Total offense — 7th (386.2 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 5th (27.1 PPG)
- Passing offense — 6th (278.8 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — 1st (18)
- Running offense — 20th (107.4 YPG)
- Third down offense — 1st (48.6%)
- Red zone offense — 5th (67.1%)
- Total defense — 11th (339.4 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 10th (21.5 PPG)
- Passing defense — 16th (237.8 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-19th (38)
- Running defense — 8th (101.6 YPG)
- Third down defense — 23rd (41%)
- Red zone defense — 11th (55.1%)
- Time of possession — 18th (30:05)
- Turnover differential — Tied-13th (2)
- Total offense — 3rd (415.5 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 12th (24.8 PPG)
- Passing offense — 1st (320.3 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — Tied-17th (41)
- Running offense — 29th (95.2 YPG)
- Third down offense — 3rd (46%)
- Red zone offense — 15th (60%)
- Total defense — 27th (383.4 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 31st (29 PPG)
- Passing defense — 26th (259.4 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-19th (38)
- Running defense — 24th (123.9 YPG)
- Third down defense — 22nd (40%)
- Red zone defense — 32nd (77.6%)
- Time of possession — 15th (30:30)
- Turnover differential — 31st (-18)