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Number Crunching: Colts/Lions Edition

Intro: Our “number crunching” series on continues this week with a slew of numbers to watch in this Week 1 contest between the Colts and Lions.


INDIANAPOLIS – Curious on some key numbers ahead of Sunday's season opener between the Colts (0-0) and Lions (0-0)?

Here are 10 numbers to keep an eye on with the Colts beginning the 2016 season at Lucas Oil Stadium.


The number of rookies the Colts could be starting on Sunday. We know center Ryan Kelly and safety T.J. Green will be starting for their respective units in Week One. Inside linebacker Antonio Morrison could be joining his fellow rookies as a starter. With Sio Moore questionable, Morrison might get to show why the Colts believe he's a definite future piece of the defense. Kelly is a full-time starter. Green might see his role change a bit once Clayton Geathers returns from his foot injury.


The number of seasons Jim Caldwell coached in Indianapolis. The Colts will see their former head coach on the visiting sideline in Week One. After being an assistant under Tony Dungy from 2002-08, Caldwell was the headman in Indy for three seasons. In Detroit last season, Caldwell made a coordinator switch on offense halfway through the year to former Indy assistant Jim Bob Cooter, so expect a Lions offense to look very similar to what Indy ran with Peyton Manning.


The number of sacks Detroit defensive end Ziggy Ansah had last season. Ansah can do it with speed and some inside power moves, as well. He's not your typical pure edge rusher. The Lions defensive front is a major strength of this team and it's a d-line that frequently controls the line of scrimmage.


The overall pick number for Detroit left tackle Taylor Decker. Remember the Ohio State left tackle? He was a popular name for the Colts during Mock Draft season this spring. The Colts needed interior line help though, not so much on the edges. Decker went two picks before the Colts and is now blocking the blindside of Matthew Stafford. The welcome to the NFL moment for Decker comes looking opposite Robert Mathis on Sunday.


The touchdown-to-interception ratio Matthew Stafford had over the second half of last season. The Lions were 6-2 after their 2015 bye week, when Cooter took over at offensive coordinator. Detroit had an NFL-fewest four giveaways over the final half of 2015. The Lions also led the NFL in red-zone efficiency last season (69.4 percent of red-zone opportunities ended in touchdowns). With the Colts having just four healthy cornerbacks on Sunday, you know the Lions will be pushing the ball upfield.


The consecutive field goals Adam Vinatieri has connected on, the longest streak in the NFL. Vinatieri's last miss was in Week Two of the 2015 season. No kicker in the NFL has had a higher percentage over the last two seasons than the 43-year-old in Indy. Fellow kicking-mate Pat McAfee could be employing a different kickoff strategy in 2016 because of the new touchback rule putting teams on the 25-yard line, up from the 20.


The number of receptions for Lions running back Theo Riddick last season, the most for any NFC running back. Riddick is a darting runner out of the backfield and arguably the most dangerous third-down back in the NFL. The Colts must account for Riddick on third downs and it will be interesting to see how the Colts deal with a receiving threat that salivates over one-on-one situations in the open field.

The number of millions Andrew Luck signed for on his new six-year contract. Earlier this week, Jim Irsay said he expects his quarterback to be in the MVP-talk this season, as long as the offensive line can protect the franchise. Sunday's matchup at quarterback will be two former Texans, both who were taken No. 1 overall (Matthew Stafford-2009, Andrew Luck-2012).


The number of passing yards Andrew Luck had when the Colts beat the Lions, 35-33, four years ago. It's hard to draw up a more dramatic finish. Down 33-21 with less than three minutes to play, Luck and LaVon Brazill connected on a 42-yard touchdown. Then, on a final minute drive, Reggie Wayne made a tremendous catch over the middle to set up the final gun heroics. With three seconds remaining, the Colts faced a 4th-and-10 from the Lions' 14-yard line. A touchdown was the only result to leave Detroit victorius. It was a scrambling Luck finding Donnie Avery on a crossing route and the speedy wideout had enough open turf to hop into the end zone for the thrilling road victory.


The number of miles the Colts will travel this season, the 12th most in the NFL. Obviously, the London trip has the Colts' travel numbers in the top half of the league this season. The Colts' furthest trip west in the first half of the season will actually come next week, when they head to Denver. Then in Week 16, playing on a Saturday because of Christmas, the Colts will play at Oakland.

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