Usually, we like to exchange Q&As with the SB Nation blog of the opposing team the Jets will be facing in the coming week.
However, we’re switching things up this week. Chris Blystone, representing Stampede Blue, has given us three reasons he thinks the Colts could lose on Sunday. In turn, I have given them three reasons I think the Jets could lose.
Here are Chris’ responses. You can check out mine pertaining to the Jets here.
Why will the Colts lose on Sunday?
The Colts team has been ravaged by injuries this season. The sideline on Thursday night against the Patriots looked less like that of a football team and more like a makeshift emergency room. They’ll likely be without their top two receiving weapons again this week as top receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle are likely to be out.
Eric Ebron has filled in effectively in Doyle’s absence and has been a productive red zone target. Except he also missed practice on Wednesday with a “shin/quad/ankle/knee” injury. I can only assume from this report that he was involved in a severe shark attack. When you add in that starting center Ryan Kelly didn’t practice with a calf injury and that the Colts just placed their starting right guard on IR with two broken vertebrae, this offense looks like one that could struggle.
That is totally ignoring the defensive injuries, which are even more significant. The Colts signed veteran safety Mike Mitchell this week because literally their whole safety room was hurt. Malik Hooker didn’t practice and Clayton Geathers and Matthias Farley both seem unlikely to be available on Sunday. If Hooker can’t play, your guess is as good as mine as to who starts opposite Mitchell, although it is likely George Odum, whose name you don’t know for a reason.
Thankfully, the Colts cornerbacks seem to be getting healthier, so that works in their favor, but the linebacker room is still thin as rookie standout Darius Leonard missed practice again with an ankle injury, and Anthony Walker was limited in his practice.
All in all, the Jets are facing a Colts team that is operating at about half strength due to the parts they are missing. It is always tough to win on the road, but when you’re this banged up it is nearly impossible.
No running game
The Colts simply haven’t been able to put together any kind of consistent running game thus far in the season. Whether due to injury or circumstances, something has prevented them from ever really getting the running game going and that has made this team pretty one dimensional.
Right now Andrew Luck leads the league in pass attempts. Getting starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo and starting running back Marlon Mack back this week will certainly help, but they have to make a concerted effort to move the ball on the ground. That should be easy against the Jets defensive line right? No? Great.
In a game where so many of their receiving weapons are hurt, the Colts absolutely need to make the running game a factor and get those guys involved, because right now the running backs might be the healthiest position group on the roster. The problem is, they haven’t been able to do it all season, so there is not a lot of hope they will start Sunday.
Inability to win in close games
The Colts have been in every game they’ve played this season. In fact, they’ve led the game in the second half of each of their games except against the Patriots. However, they have just 1 win to show for it. Mistakes, injuries, mental errors, and lack of talent are all to blame for the Colts simply being unable to grit out wins in close games.
Given the Colts’ offensive injuries, that is problematic. In a best-case-scenario situation, the Colts will manage to keep this game close. Andrew Luck is still a phenomenal player and his receivers are bound to catch at least some of the passes thrown their way. However, if the game is close, the Colts simply haven’t proven they can get the win. With so many key players either missing or likely playing at less than 100%, there is not any reason to expect them to suddenly buck the trend of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.