On the flip side, as bad as the offensive line is, their receiving corps is very talented. T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, and Reggie Wayne are three proven receivers capable of putting up some big numbers on any given night. Getting to Luck early on will prevent these receivers from getting hot and make it easier for the Eagles' secondary.
But the real test for the Eagles will come in the fourth quarter. Just as Andrew Luck isn't like most quarterbacks, the Colts aren't like most teams. These guys love trying to make a comeback late in the game. The Colts get stronger as the game goes on, and try to prey on teams who think they have it wrapped up after three quarters. Luck has put together 8 fourth quarter comebacks in his first two seasons as a starting QB, per Pro Football Reference. To put that in perspective, Tom Brady, well known for his late fourth quarter drives, has 31 through his fourteen seasons. Luck nearly put together an epic comeback last week against the Broncos.
The Eagles defense will have to prevent scoring drives in the second half to stop Luck's momentum, but this will be more of the Eagles' offense's responsibility. Last Sunday night, the Broncos got out to a huge lead, but Manning couldn't put together a scoring drive late in the game, which allowed the Colts to hang around until the Broncos' defense finally got a stop on fourth down. It will be necessary for Foles to put together at least one scoring drive late in the game Monday night if they're ahead at the time, so Luck doesn't get a chance at redemption.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts have a very medicore defense in general, and the loss of Robert Mathis doesn't help them at all. Mathis had 19.5 sacks last season and won the AFC Defensive Player of the Year award, and the Colts were still just 16th overall in team DVOA in 2013, per Football Outsiders. The Colts have some decent defenders on each level of their defense, but no stars like Mathis show up on their roster. Without a true defensive identity, the Colts are just your average defense. It should be a great night for the Eagles' offense, especially Foles.
The Colts have some very talented players like Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Reggie Wayne, but they are a very vulnerable group. If the Eagles put pressure on Luck early and often, put together a late scoring drive or two, and attack the defense, victory should go to the birds.
By: Dan Goggin
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