INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will play their third NFC East game of the season on Sunday afternoon.
In Washington (3-8), the Colts will see starting quarterback Colt McCoy, who is 2-0 in game action this season.
What should fans be looking for when the Colts take on Washington?
1. Offensive Line Play
-It's no secret that once the Colts line play improved last week, the offense began to put the game out of reach. This week the Colts are going to have a new right guard with Hugh Thornton dealing with a MCL sprain. The Colts are getting veteran right tackle Gosder Cherilus back in the lineup. Indiana native Ryan Kerrigan is an effective edge rusher for Washington where as Jason Hatcher is disruptive on the interior.
2. Limiting The Big Play
-Washington leads the NFC in passes of more than 25 yards this season, which is very impressive considering they've employed three different starting quarterbacks. The speed at the wide receiver positions might be the fastest the Colts have seen in 2014. A banged up Colts secondary will definitely be tested over the top on Sunday.
3. Get Out Of The Gate
-For much of 2014, the Colts have gotten off to quick starts but that hasn't been the case the last two weeks. For a Washington team that is currently 3-8, a quick start from Indianapolis would be beneficial with Colt McCoy making just his second start of the season. McCoy has completed more than 85 percent of his pass attempts this season but hasn't been as inclined to throw the ball down the field.
4. Protecting The Rock
-The reason for last week's 3-3 halftime tie from the Colts side of things was a result of several first-half turnovers. Coming out of the bye week, a major focus was getting back to the 2013 Colts, a team that led the league in fewest committed turnovers. With the Colts punt coverage unit among the NFL's best, just punting on fourth down is a weapon in flipping field position versus turning the ball over.
5. Containing Alfred Morris
-Heading into Jacksonville, how the Colts would stop the run was atop the priority list. With Arthur Jones back in the lineup, the Colts run defense held Jaguars running back Denard Robinson to 1.8 yards per carry, well below the 5.4 average he had in the previous month. Morris is in the midst of another 1,000-yard season and is probably the best back the Colts have seen in over a month.
6. Shaun Phillips' Debut
-The Colts made another midweek splash with the signing of veteran Shaun Phillips to help the pass rush. How many reps Phillips gets this week remains to be seen but he feels that there is plenty left in the tank. Phillips played in 43.4 percent of the Titans' defensive snaps this year and will likely spell Erik Walden and Bjoern Werner off the edge.
7. Defending The AFC South Crown
-With five weeks remaining in the 2014 season, the Colts lead in the AFC South is two games. Another divisional title is certainly in the Colts control by the time the second place Houston Texans come to Lucas Oil Stadium in two weeks. A slip up on Sunday though and the Texans would have new life at just a game back heading into the final quarter of the season.