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Number Crunching: Colts/Steelers Edition

Intro: Our “number crunching” series on continues this week with a slew of numbers to watch as the Colts (5-5) are playing on Thanksgiving night in Week 12 against the Steelers (5-5).


INDIANAPOLIS – Curious on some key numbers ahead of the Week 12 matchup between the Colts (5-5) and Steelers (5-5)?

Here are 10 numbers to keep an eye on with the Colts and Steelers meeting at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night:


The number of losses the Colts have had on Thursday games since 2007. It's a really impressive run the Colts are in the midst of for midweek games. Also, eight of those 10 games have come on the road. The Colts are now at home this week, and played in Indy this previous Sunday, which should help them a bit from a recovery standpoint.


The number of passes Scott Tolzien has thrown since 2013. And that pass came in a blowout loss with Green Bay last season. The Thanksgiving plate for Tolzien has added several more courses this week. One of the few advantages that Tolzien does have going into Thursday is that he's received a solid amount of first-team practice reps with Andrew Luck's "maintenance" days in 2016.


The number of weeks left in the regular season, with the Colts currently one game behind the Texans. Houston's loss on Monday night dropped the Texans to 6-4. The Colts are at 5-5. When crunching the early tiebreaking scenarios, it's looking like the Colts will have to win the AFC South outright to make the playoffs. The Colts will welcome the Texans to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 11.


The number of sacks the Steelers had last week, the most they've had in a game since 2005. Pittsburgh's defense dialed up the pressure big time in the win over the Browns. This was the last sort of number the Colts wanted to see with the injury to Andrew Luck. Can the Colts end their streak of giving up at least two sacks in every game this season?


The number of days the Colts will have off following Thursday's game with the Steelers. This probably applies more to the concussions of Andrew Luck and Clayton Geathers. The Colts will next play on Dec. 5 (Monday Night Football against the Jets). That's an extra day during the min-bye week for the Colts dealing with two really significant injuries.


The jersey number of Darius Butler. On Thursday night, the role for Butler could look very similar to how we saw him used against Green Bay. With Clayton Geathers' concussion, Butler could be a definite option at safety this week. The Colts could use Butler next to Mike Adams and then have a healthy Patrick Robinson returning this week to be a person you can slide into the slot role.


The combined scoring margin the Steelers have over the Colts the last two years. No one needs to remind the Colts of the 96-44 scoring margin the Steelers have had against the Colts in 2014 and 2015 meetings. Will a change in venue (Lucas Oil Stadium) and a short week (Thursday) help the Colts?


The number of catches Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has this year, the most in the NFL. With injuries/suspensions to the Pittsburgh wideout group, Brown is once again far and away leading the NFL in catches. The Colts must identify Brown pre-snap, even if they don't use Vontae Davis exclusively in a shadow role.


The number of yards from scrimmage Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell had last week. Remember, Bell didn't play when these teams met in December of 2015. He's back now and has the second most rushing yards in the NFL since October. Bell might just be the most effective running back in the NFL as a combo runner/receiver.


The number of passing yards Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had in his past two games against the Colts. Big Ben has carved up the Colts the last two years. Probably the most impressive stat Big Ben has had, including 10 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, in those meetings, is how clean the pocket has been for the future Hall of Famer. Big Ben hasn't been sacked in 88 pass attempts against the Colts the past two years.

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