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Indianapolis Colts

Week Two Preview: Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts

Intro: The Colts 2014 home opener will take place in front of the Monday Night Football audience. Here are seven things to watch for in the Colts and Eagles Week Two matchup.


INDIANAPOLIS – When the question comes up on why the Colts have been able to register back-to-back 11-win seasons, the common answer usually revolves around the recently turned 25-year-old, signal caller, Andrew Luck.

There's no denying Luck's importance to the Colts earning postseason bids each of the last two years, despite tremendous adversity from a variety of angles.

But the reason cannot be pinpointed on just one player's shoulder.

It's the resiliency following losses that is approaching franchise marks.

The Colts current streak of 33 straight games without losing consecutive games is the longest such stretch in the NFL.

To keep that incredible mark going into Week Three, the task will be one of the most unique preparations NFL teams face each year.

Chip Kelly's offense was the talk of the NFL last year with the Eagles rolling off seven wins in the last eight weeks last season and capturing the NFC East.

Since 2013, the Eagles lead the league in rushing yards per game (159.5 yards per game), plays of at least 20 yards (105) and touchdowns of at least 20 yards (24).

"Everybody's kind of taken a peak into what (Kelly's) done since he's come into the league, and I think everybody kind of studied and looked at what he did," Chuck Pagano says of the Eagles head coach.

"People have been studying what Coach Kelly's done for a long time. Really smart guy, really smart coach and innovative. I think along with us, everybody else is the same way. Everybody's kind of looking to see how you can get an edge."

In the Eagles season opening victory over the Jaguars, they erased a 17-point halftime deficit with 34 unanswered, second-half, points.

Philadelphia ran 82 plays (the second most of any team last week) and continue to want to have tremendous balance in their spread attack, with an emphasis on the ground game.

A key area to watch on Monday night will be the Colts pass rush after the Jaguars sacked the Eagles five times in the first half last week.

With the news of Robert Mathis' Achilles injury, the reality has begun that the Colts are going to be without one of the NFL's most disruptive players.

Bjoern Werner doesn't shy away from that notion. He's trying to embrace the "honor" of making Mathis type plays.

Pagano cautions though not to throw too much of a pass rush burden onto the shoulders of just Werner.

"He's got to play his game," Pagano says of Werner.

"Again it's everybody on the entire defense has got to step up and raise their level of play. We don't replace a guy like Robert. It's like losing Reggie (Wayne) last year, you don't replace those guys. Just like our offensive guys did last season when we lost so many guys, guys got to step up and they've got to raise their level of play, and we've got to do the same thing collectively on defense."

Perhaps no Colts game all season long will have as much of a defensive emphasis on communication, in such a short amount of time pre-snap, as Monday night.

For the Colts to once again show the bounce back ability that has been a staple the last two years, sound football is the name of the game.

"You just have to do your job," defensive lineman Art Jones says.

"This game just comes down to doing your job, being in your gap. I don't know how many times I can say it, but this is just one of those games where everybody just needs to their job and just have fun, play like a Colt."

INTERESTING MATCHUPSEagles running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles versus the Colts defense:There might not be a more electric running back in the NFL than McCoy. He's a special player in the open field and was a major reason why the Eagles led the league in rushing last season. Toss in the versatility of Darren Sproles and the Colts have to account for two dynamic players out of the backfield, both who can change the game in the blink of an eye.Colts quarterback Andrew Luck versus the Eagles defense: Ideally, Luck won't have to throw it 53 times on Monday night. The Colts air attack was productive in Week One, but now the next step needs to be converting those chances in Eagles' territory. Philadelphia's defense held the Jaguars out of the end zone on 11 straight drives to end the season opener. Can the Colts counter that with a quick touchdown drive to get off to a better start?Quick Facts

-The Colts have not lost back-to-back games in Chuck Pagano's tenure.

-In his last two games against the Eagles, Hakeem Nicks had 16 catches for 193 yards.

-Colts safety Colt Anderson played for the Eagles from 2010-2013.

-The Eagles have won eight of their last nine regular season games.

-Last week, the Eagles became the first team in NFL history to win a game by at least 17 points after being shut out and training by at least 17 points at halftime.

-In 2013, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was the highest-rated passer in the NFL (119.2).NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on how can you simulate the kind of offense the Eagles run):

-"It's extremely difficult. We brainstormed and we talked about this the entire offseason in preparation for this game. You think about in college, you've got 100-and-some players out there so it's easy to have two offensive huddles set. One's at the line of scrimmage running the play and the other one's back over here and they're getting the play, and so it's bam, bam, bam, bam; you can rapid fire it. We don't have enough players obviously out there to do that. So our guys were creative and have come up with some different ways to try and replicate and simulate the tempo. It's not going to be, I think they snapped the ball against Jacksonville last week, I think there was an average of between 25 and 26 seconds left on the play clock. They're on you, so this is going to be about getting lined up, knowing what to do, doing your job, playing great assignment football and being on the same page."

Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on if he's been intrigued by what Chip Kelly has brought into the NFL):

-"Yeah, I think everybody's kind of taken a peak into what he's done since he's come into the league and I think everybody kind of studied and looked at what he did. I don't know what his record was, I know it was really good. I think he only lost five or six games in his tenure up there at Oregon. But I think people have been studying what Coach Kelly's done for a long time. Really smart guy, really smart coach and innovative. I think along with us, everybody else is the same way. Everybody's kind of looking to see how you can get an edge."

Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck(on facing Chip Kelly teams in college):

-"Yeah, a lot of respect for Coach Kelly. We lived it first hand in the Pac-12. He does so many great things, so many inventive thinks in football. I know as a player I've got a lot of respect for him. As a fan of the game of football, I've got a lot of respect for him. I think his footprint is definitely more on the offensive side of the ball. Our minds are worried about Billy Davis, the defensive coordinator, Trent Cole and all the defensive guys. You know he's going to be fast-paced on offense. I don't think it affects our offense necessarily as much as people would think. We've got our hands full with what is a solid, solid defense."

Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly(on the development of quarterback Nick Foles over the past year):

-"I think Nick's (Foles) got a great feel for the game of football. He's big, he's another big, physical quarterback. Nick's 6-6, he's 250 pounds, can stand in the pocket, will take a hit. He's very accurate in his throws and delivers the ball to the right receivers. He's still learning, he's played less games than Andrew. I think Sunday was his 17th start in his career so he's still a young quarterback. I think he just had such an outstanding year last year that maybe some people forget he's still young. He's learning as we go. He very rarely makes the same mistake twice, which is an awesome compliment to him and really excited to see him play against the Colts on Monday."Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly(on what he saw on tape from the Colts/Broncos matchup):

-"Impressive. I think when you have Andrew (Luck), you're never out of a game. They proved that in the playoff game against the Chiefs a year ago. I think I saw the stat, he has the most fourth quarter comebacks in the first two years in the league of any quarterback. I think there's a confidence in that team. I think Chuck's (Pagano) done such a good job of providing and creating an environment for those guys that they feel like they're in every game, and they are in every game when you have the talent that they have on both sides of that ball. So it was impressive, I know they're probably not happy because of the loss, but they were impressive. We played the Broncos last year, we know first hand that's a really good football team."Eagles Running Back LeSean McCoy(on what changed between halves during the season opener):

-"Not much, we just executed. I think we dug deep and we left it all on the field and got it done. This week we can't do that because with that quarterback over there and the talent he has, we can't afford to get down 17 points and try to win the game."

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