The Eagles return from the bye to get Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson (possibly) and Jason Peters back from injury, while the Colts are just trying to get through another week without losing another key offensive cog. Lest anyone has forgotten how well Vick played the opening month of the season prior to his rib injury, now we get to see for ourselves against a defense that is not particularly fearsome. Peyton Manning, meantime, continues to prove the theory he can take any three schmoes from the corner bar and make them 100-yard receivers. The (5-2) Indianapolis Colts take their ailing show on the road to clash with the rested (4-3) Philadelphia Eagles in the hostile confines of Lincoln Financial Field, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST. While the Colts only play the Eagles once every four years, they know Philadelphia and its home crowd will equal a tough challenge.
Indianapolis looked incredible on Monday night. It is hard to bet against a team that controls the clock, the flow of the game and controls the scoreboard as well. Peyton Manning orchestrated the perfect game plan once again and proved that he doesn’t care who he has to throw the ball to – as long as they can catch, the ball will be delivered accurately and on time. Since the NFL realignment in 2002, the Colts have a record of 27-7 (.794) when playing against teams from the NFC in the regular season. That mark is the second-best record in the league during that span. The Colts have defeated both NFC opponents they’ve faced this season. The Colts beat the Giants, 38-14, on September 19 and defeated the Redskins, 27-24, on October 17. Last season, the Colts went 4-0 in regular-season games against the NFC as the club swept the NFC West. This season, the Colts are playing teams from the NFC East. In 2006, the Colts went 3-1 in games against the NFC East, defeating the Giants, Eagles and Redskins and dropping a contest at the Cowboys. The Colts have won their last seven regular season games against NFC competition. The Colts defense has been very effective on third downs this season, holding opponents to a 36.9 percent conversion rate through the first seven games of the season. That is more than an eight-percent improvement over last season’s third-down defense when opposing offenses converted 104 of 231 attempts for a 45 percent success rate. From 2006-09, opposing offenses averaged to convert 46.1 of third downs against the Colts. Over the past three games, the Colts have held opposing offenses to a 23.5 percent success rate on third downs (8 of 34). In last week’s game against Houston, the Texans failed to convert on their first six third down attempts as the Colts raced to a 24-3 lead.
The Eagles are 4-3 and second in the NFC East division as they come off their bye week and face the Colts. The bye week has allowed injured quarterback Michael Vick to return to the team. Vick started games two through four for the Eagles, but was sidelined with a rib injury for the last three games. Vick has rushed 26 times for 187 yards and one touchdown this season, but it’s his passing game that has really stood out. Vick has a 108.8 passer rating and has completed 59-of-96 passes for 799 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season. The Eagles have surrounded Vick with a lot of weapons, from running back LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for 477 yards this season and leads the team with 38 receptions, to wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, who have caught 49 passes for 853 yards and nine touchdowns between them. On defense, the Eagles are in their second year under defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Philadelphia’s defense relies on different formations and constant pressure to product turnovers. They have 16 takeaways this season after totaling 38 last season, third-most in the NFL. Of those 16 turnovers, 11 have been interceptions, as the Eagles’ secondary has been very opportunistic this season. Safety Nate Allen and cornerback Asante Samuel are tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Philadelphia’s defense will be the key to this game. Currently, they are ranked 11th against the pass and 18th against the run. Not many teams have been able to slow Peyton Manning down this season so there is no real defensive formula for success.
Colts vs Eagles Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts +3
@ Philadelphia Eagles -3
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Colts vs Eagles Predictions for Week 9:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The Eagles are a very solid football team. They bolster an elite defense who has not reached their full potential as of yet and there offense, when clicking, is towards the tops in the league. The Eagles are a rested bunch after their bye and have had two weeks to game plan Peyton Manning and the Colts offense. Philadelphia is 17-6 ATS after a bye week since 1992 and are 17-5 ATS when playing with 2 weeks or more of rest since 1992. The Colts are extremely fragile as they have lost several key starters for the remainder of this season and are calling upon practice squad players to fill these vacant spots. The Colts have also recently not been playing too well on the road, an attribute they use to be known for. Indianapolis is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road, whereas the Eagles have won 10 of their last 14 games at home. Take a look at the Eagles pulling out the win and covering this spread against the limping Colts.
Game Total Prediction – This is a tough number to forecast. We have an ailing football team that have not played particularly well on the road as of late playing a team coming off of a bye and reinserting a quarterback that hasn’t played in close to a month. Facing the Eagles for the first time since a 45-21 home win on Nov. 26, 2006, Indianapolis has outscored Philadelphia 161-61 during a four-game series winning streak. That included a 35-13 win in its last trip to Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 2002. This 2010 Philly bunch, however, is a much improved and more talented defensive team. I believe 47 might be a bit high to reach and I see a defensive battle-taking place. Michael Vick is bound to show some rust after a long layoff. I do believe that it will be a close game but I just can’t bet this game turning into a track meet. We will consider the UNDER.