Indianapolis at Pittsburgh: 5 Things to Know
We are at the half-way stage of the season already, which is both exciting and sad at the same time as we head into the cruch time for team's playoff hopes.
Week eight features the Indianapolis Colts travelling up to Heinz Field to face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in what should be a great game between two teams that will be feeling confident going into it, with the Colts having shut-out the Cincinnati Bengals last week and the Steelers coming off a huge win against the Houston Texans in Monday night football.
With the Colts at 5-2 and the Steelers at 4-3, a win for either team would keep them well within the AFC playoff picture, but what will be the five key things to watch this weekend?
No.1: Andrew Luck's continued level of great play.
The Colts' quarterback deserves to be in the MVP discussion at this stage of the season, so far he has totalled 2,331 passing yards with 19 touchdowns to go with it. To give some perspective on these numbers in his previous two seasons Luck threw 23 touchdowns in each, so he is on course to smash his career best numbers. His QBR of 100.5 is also a good chunk higher than his previous season's 87.0 and 76.5 marks. Luck's play is one of the main reasons behind the Colts' 5-2 record.
No.2: Antonio Brown vs. T.Y. Hilton.
A big matchup between two small (relatively) guys. When you compare the numbers between the two receivers they are unbelievabley similar. Hilton has 47 catches for 711 yards to Brown's 50 catches for 719 yards, the only real difference is Brown has five touchdowns to Hilton's solitary score. But more on the Colts' receiving game in a minute. Both defenses will have to game plan for the respective speedster on offence.
No.3: Ahmad Bradshaw's incredible receiving game?!
I think this came as a shock to most of us, but this season Bradshaw has been a revelation receiving passes from the backfield. So far this season he has six receiving touchdowns, SIX! Some names that don't have that right now include: Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, I could go on. In his previous seven seasons in the league Bradshaw had only totalled three receiving touchdowns. Admittedly as a running back he has only one touchdown on the ground, but I'm sure Colts fans and fantasy owners alike won't mind how he scores, as long as it keeps going.
No.4: Colts Offence vs. Steelers defense.
As a Pittsburgh fan this has me worried. Indianapolis' offensive unit is number one in the league for total yards and the Steelers defense is a very un-Steelers-like 15th overall in most yards allowed. If the Steelers want any chance of winning this game the defense will have to step-up and try and limit the Colts as much as possible, keep them to around 20-23 points and a Pittsburgh victory could happen.
No.5: Le'Veon Bell continuing to do everything?
Bell has been one, if not the best all-round back in the league so far this year, ranking third overall in rushing yards and adding 339 receiving yards. He has been as crucial as Brown and Ben Roethlisberger have been to the Steelers winning games, with a viable running threat, this takes away the pressure from Roethlisberger to try and do everything himself like in the past few seasons.