San Diego Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts: prediction, preview, pick to win

Complete guide to the San Diego Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts, including when and where to watch, series history, matchups, prediction, and pick to win.
By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 23, 2016 at 5:23 PM
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San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon.

SERIES HISTORY: 26th regular season meeting. Chargers lead series, 16-9. San Diego also leads in post season meetings, 2-1. Indianapolis has lost their last three games with the Chargers, including playoffs, and have dropped six of their last seven overall matchups with San Diego. The Colts' last win in the series came on Nov. 23, 2008 as Indianapolis posted a 23-20 road decision. Indianapolis is 3-11 against the Chargers in home games and 6-5 on the road.

GAMEDATE: 9/25/16

KEYS TO THE GAME: Slow starts are making matters ugly early again for the Colts. Indianapolis is winless after two games for the third straight season, and the Colts continue sleepwalking through part or all of the first half to set themselves up for a cleats-on-fire second half rally. If Indy starts slow again, it might not catch up.

The Chargers are 29th in the NFL against the pass - 324.5 yards per game - and Luck could come out gunning.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers fired four TD passes last week and San Diego sprinted ahead of the Chiefs in Week 1 only to let that one slip away. Attrition is hitting San Diego, losing No. 1 receiver Keenan Allen to an ACL injury in Week 1 and dynamic running back and receiver Danny Woodhead last week.

San Diego may choose to rely more on second-year running back Melvin Gordon against a Colts' defense ranked 29th against the run (125.0 yards per game). Gordon rushed for 102 yards versus the Jaguars for the first 100-yard game of his NFL career.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

--Chargers RB Melvin Gordon vs. Colts run defense: Gordon has rushed for 159 yards in 38 carries and three touchdowns so far this season. San Diego has one of the NFL's best overall rushing attacks. Indianapolis, meanwhile, continues to struggle at stopping the run (125 yards per game). Colts coaches are harping on missed tackles this week.

--Chargers CB Jason Verrett vs. Colts WR T.Y. Hilton: Verrett is feisty and mostly under the radar but figures to draw Hilton when the Colts spread the field with three- and four-receiver sets. Hilton, 26, said this week he's "ticked" and needs to "make more plays" with Moncrief out. Hilton caught four passes on 11 targets last week.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Colts WR Chester Rogers -- With WR Donte Moncrief sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken shoulder blade, the undrafted Grambling receiver will see the field. He led all Colts receivers in total receptions during the preseason. Rogers (6-1, 180) has good size and has shown the ability to be a playmaker downfield.

FAST FACTS: The Chargers have won four of the past five meetings. ... Chargers TE Antonio Gates is the only tight end in NFL history with 100 touchdown receptions with one team. ... Hilton is averaging a league-leading 16.1 yards per reception since 2014 among players with at least 150 receptions.

PREDICTION: Andrew Luck has protected the ball at home but needs more help to get the Colts in the win column. In a matchup of Brothers Pagano, John as Chargers defensive coordinator and Chuck running the Colts, San Diego's comes out sunny side up.

OUR PICK: Chargers, 30-27.

--Jeff Reynolds

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