Andrew Aziz of Everything Colts checks in with another preview this week.
What the Colts Need To Do To Win
Against the Bengals, teams have to play some consistent, good football. That's something the Colts have struggled with in the last couple of weeks. The Colts have proven to us that they can put up a lot of points in a half. Now, the most important thing going into the Bengals game is consistency. On offense, Leon Hall should be covering Pierre Garcon, so if he does go for Reggie Wayne and a lot. Curtis Painter should also tend to target the left side, and should not be afraid to go for the long bomb. Reggie Nelson, their free safety, has made a bunch of mistakes that has cost them touchdowns. The Colts should also try to go for quick passes and screens, perticularily on 1st down to make 2nd and 3rd down easier. Running the ball is going to be tough, so the Colts should try to throw more than pass in this game. The Colts should throw about 30 to 35 times, and run the ball a total of 18 times. When the Colts do run, they have to run with authority and inside the tackles, as without Joseph Addai it will be tough for Delone Carter to run to the outside, because he's not very fast. Donald Brown could do it, but it's better to run in between the tackles.
On defense, they need to stop A.J Green. Jacob Lacey will be covering him, so the Colts should be the SS (Caldwell) on him, so that they double team this monster. We saw what Dwayne Bowe did to the Colts last week. Don't be surprised if they go run heavy in this game. Every team we faced this year, with the exception of the Steelers have gone run heavy against us, and with Cedric Benson having the 2nd most attempts in the NFL, I expect them to go run heavy again. Even if they stop Benson, they're not in the clear. They have some great weapons at receiver with Green, Simpson and Gresham as the tight end. The Colts should also watch out for Andy Dalton's running ability. If he doesn't see something he likes, he'll run. He did it against the Bills, and you can expect a couple of runs against the Colts. They have to be perfect to win.
What The Bengals Need to Do To Win
The Bengals don't have to do much to win. On defense, they pretty much have to stop Curtis Painter. The best way to do that is to blitz and pressure Painter; Mike Zimmer's favorite thing to do. They have Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnosn, and Demato Peko to pressure him plus Rey Maualuga. Painter's favorite target is Pierre Garcon, so cover him well, which means put Leon Hall on him, and maybe double cover Reggie Wayne on some plays with safety Reggie Nelson. On offense, it's better to go pass heavy than run heavy against the Colts. Andy Dalton has 3 great targets to go to, plus the Colts secondary is one of the worst secondaries in the league. It's an easy game for the Bengals
Breakout Performers/ Key Matchup
For the Colts, it's Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. They need to constantly pressure Dalton, so that he makes some bad throws that lead to some turnovers. If they can get to him, sack him, and maybe even force a fumble, they can win, if they can't well they're hopeless.
For the Bengals, it's Andy Dalton. It's simple, good game from him and they win. A bad one and they'll probably lose.
The key matchup comes from the trentches, the Colts D-line vs the Bengals O-line. The Colts need to beat the Bengals O-line so they can pressure Dalton, and the Bengals O-line wants to protect Dalton. The winner of that battle will make a big difference.
What I Think Will Happen
I think that the Bengals are just too good for the Colts. As a fan, I want the Colts to win, but I have to be realistic, they won't. They're going up against the 2nd best defense in the league, and an offense that includes some playmakers. I think the first half will go to the Bengals. The halftime score will be 14-6 for the Bengals. The 2nd half, the Colts will come back and make it close, but the Bengals will pull away late. Curtis Painter will have a pretty good game, going 15 for 33 with 245 yards and 1 touchdown (no interceptions). Delone Carter will have 13 rushes for 31 yards and Donald Brown will have 6 rushes for 13 yards. Reggie Wayne will be the Colts' best receiver with 7 catches for 97 yards. Pierre Garcon will have 4 catches for 62 yards, and Austin Collie will have 3 catches for 24 yards and a 4 yard touchdown. Kavell Conner will be the leading tackler on defense. For the Bengals, Andy Dalton will go 17 for 26 for 255 yards and will have 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Cedric Benson will have 23 rushes for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. AJ Green will be the Bengals leading receiver; he'll have 8 catches for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. Jerome Simpsons will have 5 catches for 76 yards. Antoine Bethea will have the interception. It's 0-6 for the Colts.
Colts 16 vs Bengals 27
Last Time They Played
2010 NFL Season -- Week 10
Colts 23 vs Bengals 17