2019 Colts Preview: Colts/Buccaneers, Week 14

The Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fight for their postseason lives this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium as the Colts attempt to get back over .500 and re-establish themselves in the AFC South. Here's everything you need to know heading into Sunday's showdown.

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INDIANAPOLIS — This week, the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) have a huge matchup down south as they visit an old friend in Bruce Arians and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) at Raymond James Stadium.

While neither team is where they want to be record-wise, neither's playoff chances are dead yet, so each of their remaining four games are critical. This matchup features two stout defenses, each with exciting offensive players on the other side of the ball who should be able to make plays in this contest (including a couple who are returning from injury for the Colts this week).

Here's everything you need to know heading into Sunday's showdown.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • 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.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Buccaneers:

  • HC Bruce Arians
  • OC Byron Leftwich
  • DC Todd Bowles
  • STC Keith Armstrong

LAST WEEK

Colts:

  • Lost vs. Tennessee Titans (7-5), 31-17

Buccaneers:

  • Won @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8), 28-11

INJURY UPDATE

Colts:

  • OUT — WR T.Y. Hilton (calf), CB Kenny Moore II (ankle), K Adam Vinatieri (knee)
  • DOUBTFUL — N/A
  • QUESTIONABLE — S Malik Hooker (foot), CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle)

Buccaneers:

  • OUT — G Alex Cappa (elbow), RB T.J. Logan (thumb), WR Scott Miller (hamstring), LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring)
  • DOUBTFUL — N/A
  • QUESTIONABLE — CB Jamel Dean (shoulder), CB M.J. Stewart (knee)

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Who's In, Who's Out? — Starting running back Marlon Mack and wide receiver Parris Campbell are both returning from fractured hands this week, which is a huge shot in the arm for the Colts' offense. With receiver T.Y. Hilton, cornerback Kenny Moore II and kicker Adam Vinatieri all being out on Sunday, look for Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Campbell to fill in for Hilton, some mix of Rock Ya-Sin (questionable), Marvell Tell III, Rolan Milligan and perhaps Quincy Wilson in for Moore II, and newcomer Chase McLaughlin for Vinatieri.
  • 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 proven to be at times relentless in 2019, the Colts should have time to get into the backfield consistently and rattle Winston, whose 101 turnovers and 78 interceptions since 2015 are the most in the NFL. However, they have to make sure they get to Winston because those long-developing downfield plays without any sort of deterrent could mean big things for Tampa's passing game, which has two of the top-five receivers in the NFL in terms of yardage in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
  • Can The Colts Establish The Run And/Or Take Advantage Of Tampa's Pass Defense? — The Buccaneers' defense is one of the league's elite units against the run, and the Colts offense is among the elite at running it, especially with Mack back in the lineup. Something's got to give, right? If the Colts can't establish the run then it'll be critical that they take advantage of Tampa's 31st-ranked pass defense in order to put points on the board.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts OT Braden Smith vs. Buccaneers ED Shaquil Barrett — Barrett has been a dominant force for the Bucs this season, currently leading the league with 14.5 sacks. It's a huge task for the Colts' second-year right tackle. Will the Colts throw an extra tight end on the line to try and slow Barrett down?
  • Colts IOL Quenton Nelson/Ryan Kelly vs. Buccaneers DL Ndamukong Suh/Vita Vea — This is a matchup of two of the nastiest linemen in the league between Nelson and Suh, and one that football purists will be watching closely. Will either of them get under each other's skin with their style of play? Nelson and Kelly against Vea is another intriguing matchup, as the second-year nose tackle has really turned a corner this season.
  • Colts DT Denico Autry vs. Buccaneers G Ali Marpet — Marpet has gone from Division III college football to one of the best guards in the NFL. Autry's length, strength, athleticism and ability to pressure up the middle 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.

PROJECTED WEATHER

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (2,245 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (862 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Zach Pascal (473 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR T.Y. Hilton (5)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (83)
  • Sacks — DE Justin Houston (8.0)
  • Interceptions — LB Darius Leonard, CB Kenny Moore II (2)

Buccaneers:

  • Passing — QB Jameis Winston (3,659 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Ronald Jones II (482 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Chris Godwin (1,121 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR Chris Godwin (9)
  • Tackles — LB Lavonte David (91)
  • Sacks — ED Shaquil Barrett (14.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (2)

COMPARING 2019 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 19th (343.8 YPG)
  • Scoring — 17th (21.8 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 26th (204.8 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — Tied-10th (24)
  • Running offense — 4th (139.0 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 9th (44%)
  • Red zone offense — 8th (63.6%)
  • Total defense — 13th (328.7 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 15th (21.4 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 11th (226.9 YPG)
  • Sacks — 17th (32)
  • Running defense — 9th (101.8 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 20th (40%)
  • Red zone defense — 9th (50.0%)
  • Time of possession — 7th (31:39)
  • Turnover differential — 22nd (-3)

Buccaneers:

  • Total offense — 5th (380.4 YPG)
  • Scoring — 4th (28.3 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 4th (284.2 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — Tied-24th (40)
  • Running offense — 22nd (96.2 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 15th (40%)
  • Red zone offense — 13th (60.0%)
  • Total defense — 17th (358.1 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 30th (28.8 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 31st (281.8 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-14th (33)
  • Running defense — 2nd (76.2 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 3rd (34%)
  • Red zone defense — 13th (54.4%)
  • Time of possession — 9th (31:05)
  • Turnover differential — 27th (-7)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • Colts running back Marlon Mack needs one 100-yard rushing performance to tie Joseph Addai (eight) for the fifth-most such games in Colts franchise history.
  • The Colts on Friday announced a reported three-year contract extension for tight end Jack Doyle. Doyle needs 18 receiving yards to pass Raymond Chester (2,122) for the sixth-most receiving yards by a tight end in franchise history, and 50 receiving yards to pass Coby Fleener (2,154) for the fifth-most receiving yards by a tight end in franchise history. Doyle also needs one receiving touchdown to pass Ken Dilger (18) for fifth and tie Tom Mitchell (19) and Dwayne Allen (19) for the fourth-most receiving touchdowns by a tight end in franchise history.
  • Colts head coach Frank Reich on Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' defense and specifically the run defense: "Yeah, I think number one it is just his nature. Number two, he has worked with Bruce Arians. I think we all know Bruce is a pretty aggressive guy and I think it is great. I think Bruce gives him the green light. So they will bring blitz-0 more than most teams and just pressure in general so I think that is part of it. Then just his schemes (with) the way they play the run, he has literally been successful. He stops the run wherever he goes. We are a very good running team. We think this is a very good matchup there. I'm looking forward to see how that plays out."
  • Reich on what makes Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin dominant: "Speed, plays with a lot of swagger and he can get vertical. We know Bruce likes to throw the ball down the field. Of course Byron (Leftwich) is calling it, (he's) doing a great job. But they are just aggressive and get vertical down the field. He's been doing great at that – contested catches he has been good at. (He's) just been a playmaking machine."
  • Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus on rookie linebacker Bobby Okereke: "Yeah, Bobby has been working really hard at that SAM position and it's starting to show that he is getting comfortable in there. Coach (Reich) has a developmental period after practice and (Dave) Borgonzi and I have been working with him during that period – just specifically the SAM work. So we had to catch him up because he was mostly playing MIKE for us. So he's developing well and he is starting to see the production. Our production chart in the linebacker room is not an easy production chart. So a lot of times you end up having a bunch of F's before you have A's. So he graded out really well during the game and he is excited about that. He was excited to get his first A, that is for sure."
  • McLaughlin on his comfort level if he has to play Sunday: "I'd be just as comfortable as ever. Luke (Rhodes) and Rigo (Rigoberto Sanchez) are a great snapper and holder. Just being around them and getting work with them during the week, I'll definitely be ready to go by Sunday."
  • This week, the Colts made the following roster moves: Claimed kicker Chad McLaughlin off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers. Waived tight end Matt Lengel. Elevated wide receiver Chad Williams to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. Placed wide receiver Chester Rogers on Injured Reserve. Signed wide receiver Malik Henry to the practice squad.

NEXT WEEK

Colts:

  • New Orleans Saints (away) (Monday Night Football)

Buccaneers:

  • Detroit Lions (away)

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