Los Angeles Chargers vs Indianapolis Colts (12/26 @ 8:15 PM EST)
Spread: Chargers -4.5
Money Line: Chargers -220 / Colts +180
Overview and Betting Info
The Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (4-9-1) in prime time on Monday night. The Chargers lead the overall series 17-10 and have won three of the last four. LA currently holds an AFC wildcard spot, while the Colts will likely be eliminated from playoff contention regardless of Monday’s outcome.
The Chargers are 8-5-1 against the spread and have covered in five of their seven road games. They are 5-8-1 in favor of the under, thanks to going under the total or pushing in six of their last seven games.
The colts are 6-8 against the spread and have covered three of their six home games. They are 5-9-0 in favor of the under but have gone over the total in their last three games.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ offense is averaging 370.8 yards and 22.3 points per game. They are again led by Justin Herbert, who has thrown for 4,019 yards (2nd in NFL) and 21 touchdowns. It’s impressive numbers given that the Chargers receiving corps has been devastated by injuries. Fortunately, the group is healthy, and Herbert has gone over 300 yards in his previous three games. The increase in yards is due to the return of Keenan Allen (486 yards, 2 TD) and Mike Williams (693 yards, 4 TD). They join second-year receiver Joshua Palmer (714 yards, 3 TD) to give Herbert the weapons he needs.
The Chargers backfield is led by Austin Ekeler, who has 692 yards and nine touchdowns. The back has also been a top receiver with injuries to Allen and Williams, and he has 635 yards and five touchdowns. Ekeler has been the key to this offense most of the season and has scored in four of his previous five games. When Ekeler isn’t in the backfield, look for Joshua Kelley to come in and make plays with limited touches (4.2 YPC).
The Chargers’ defense allows 369.5 yards and 24.3 points per game. While they are mediocre in most areas, the run defense has been an issue, as they allow 145.6 yards per game (28th in NFL). They are led up front by the play of Khalil Mack (7 sacks, 10 TFL), Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Drue Tranquill (4 sacks, 7 TFL). Safety Derwin James Jr has led this secondary with four sacks, 106 tackles, and five tackles for loss. He missed last week with an injury and is questionable for Monday’s game. If he is out, the Chargers will rely on the play of Bryce Callahan (3 INT, 6 PD), Asante Samuel Jr (10 PD, 1 INT), and Nasir Adderley (2 INT) to get by the Colts.
The Colts have lost seven of their last eight, thanks to an offense that’s only averaging 345.3 yards and 17.5 points per game (29th in NFL). They will make a change at quarterback Monday to wake this offense up, with Nick Foles getting the nod over Matt Ryan. The game will be the quarterback’s first start of the season (and his first against LA) in an offense managing just 240 passing yards per game. He will be working with a receiving corps led by Michael Pittman Jr, who has 815 yards and two touchdowns. The receiver has shown he can be a top pass-catcher in this league but has yet to have much help from the quarterback position. Pittman joins rookie Alex Pierce (510 yards, 2 TD) and Parris Campbell (510 yards, 3 TD) to form one of the youngest receiver groups in the NFL.
The Colts backfield will be without superstar Jonathan Taylor (861 yards, 4 TD), meaning Deon Jackson (191 yards, 1 TD) and Zack Moss (203 yards, 0 TD) will be taking over. The two backs played reasonably well last week, combining for 136 total yards against the Vikings. The Charges run defense will be more formidable, but it is still beatable if these two backs can get going. Their performance will likely depend on how Foles plays, as the Chargers may stack the box if the quarterback struggles.
The Indianapolis Colts are allowing 346.1 yards and 24.1 points per game. They’ve played well but have been on the field a lot due to a struggling offense. Despite the talent on the field, the Colts have given up 93 points in their last two games. They’ve been led by the pass-rushing duo of Yannick Ngakoue (9.5 sacks, 7 TFL) and Deforest Buckner (6.5 sacks, 8 TFL). Keep an eye on Kwity Paye and Grover Stewart, as both have been getting into opposing backfields and have nine tackles for loss each. The secondary has been led by Rodney Thomas II and Stephon Gilmore (11 PD), who have two interceptions each. The Colts will need both as they face a Chargers team with a receiving corps that is finally healthy.