Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions, Week 8: Colts Recharged for Motor City After Bye

There’s nothing like some rest before a road trip. The Colts, coming off a bye, will try to improve to 5-2 against the Detroit Lions.
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INDIANAPOLIS — While the Indianapolis Colts have been unblemished in three home games at Lucas Oil Stadium, they’ve had more difficulty on the road.

The Colts (4-2) have lost two of three away games entering Sunday’s visit to Ford Field to face the Detroit Lions (3-3), who have lost two of three at home.

The Lions, after a last-play touchdown pass to win 23-22 at Atlanta, have some momentum with three wins in four games. The Colts had a bye after rallying past the Cincinnati Bengals 31-27 at home in Week 6.

Here’s all you need to know about Colts-Lions.

Broadcast Information

— Sunday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m. (EDT)

— Ford Field, Detroit

— TV: CBS-4, Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (color), Michael Grady (sideline)

— To find out what games will be on in your area, check here

— Radio: WFNI 1070-AM ESPN “The Fan,” WLHK 97.1 HANK-FM — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color), Larra Overton (sideline), Bill Brooks (pregame/postgame analyst)

All-Time Series

— Colts lead, 21-19-2. Colts have won four of five.

— Last meeting, Week 1, 2016. Lions won, 39-35.

Coaches

Colts: head coach Frank Reich; offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni; defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, special teams Bubba Ventrone.

Lions: head coach Matt Patricia; offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell; defensive coordinator Cory Undlin; special teams Brayden Coombs.

Last Week

Colts had bye

Lions won at Atlanta Falcons, 23-22

Injury Reports

Colts

— QUESTIONABLE: C Ryan Kelly (knee); TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee)

Lions

— QUESTIONABLE: OT Taylor Decker (shoulder); LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (not injury related); CB Darryl Roberts (groin/hip); CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring)

Storylines/Things to Watch

Start Strong: The Colts defense has sputtered at the beginning of their last two games in allowing a combined 44 points to the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals by halftime. They were down 21-0 to the Bengals before rallying for a 31-27 home win. They lost 32-23 on the road to the Browns. The Lions have outscored opponents 48-23 in the first quarter.

Cough Up Ball: The Lions are the only team to not have a lost fumble this season. The Colts have yet to recover a fumble. Both teams are +3 in turnover ratio. The Colts lead the league with 10 interceptions.

Pressure Stafford: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has 10 TD passes and just four INTs, but he’s taken 14 sacks. The Colts have just four sacks in three games and rank just 16th in sacks per pass attempt. It’s imperative that the Colts get heat on the veteran passer to force him to make quicker decisions.

Intriguing Matchups

Colts CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Lions WR Kenny Golladay: The Lions are 3-1 with Golladay in the lineup. A 2019 Pro Bowl alternate after leading the NFL with 11 TD receptions, Golladay has 20 receptions for a team-high 338 yards (16.9 yards per catch) and two TDs, despite missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. Rhodes is enjoying a bounce-back season in his first year with the Colts. He’s among the league’s best cornerbacks in allowing the lowest passer rating to receivers covered, and he has two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

Colts LT Anthony Castonzo vs. Lions DE Trey Flowers: The 10th-year Castonzo is used to drawing the league’s toughest pass rushers. Flowers has 30 career sacks in six seasons, including two this year. A two-time Super Bowl winner with New England, Flowers signed a five-year, $90-million deal in 2019 to be reunited with Patricia, a former Patriots defensive coordinator.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor vs. Lions S Tracy Walker III: The Colts are struggling to generate enough rushing yardage, based on their rankings of 28th in rushing offense and 32nd in rush yards per carry, but the rookie Taylor has made steady progress since becoming the starter in Week 2. The second-round selection has rushed for 367 yards and three TDs. He’s also caught 16 passes for 162 yards. Walker is the Lions’ leading tackler with 37 total stops. He’s quick to support the run, but also has four pass breakups. Expect to see a lot of Walker in the box in anticipation of the Colts establishing the run.

Projected Weather

— Ford Field is a closed dome.

Referee Assignment

— Head referee: Clay Martin (third year as NFL referee after three as umpire). Click here to see all referee assignments for Week 8.

Betting Lines

— Favorite: Colts (-3)

— Over/Under: 50

2020 Season Leaders

Colts

— Passing: QB Philip Rivers (1,598 yards)

— Rushing: RB Jonathan Taylor (367 yards)

— Receiving: WR T.Y. Hilton (242 yards)

— Touchdowns: Taylor (3)

— Tackles: LB Anthony Walker (39)

— Sacks: DE Justin Houston (3.5)

— Interceptions: CB T.J. Carrie, CB Xavier Rhodes, S Julian Blackmon (2)

Lions

— Passing: QB Matthew Stafford (1,580 yards)

— Rushing: RB Adrian Peterson (314 yards)

— Receiving: WR Kenny Golladay (338 yards)

— Touchdowns: RB D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson (4)

— Tackles: S Tracy Walker III (37)

— Sacks: DE Romeo Okwara (4)

— Interceptions: S Duron Harmon (2)

Comparing 2020 Stats

Colts

— Total offense: 19th (363.2 YPG)

— Scoring: 14th (26.2 PPG)

— Passing offense: 10th (265.2 YPG)

— Sacks allowed: 1st (6)

— Rushing offense: 28th (98 YPG)

— Third-down offense: 23rd (39.2%)

— Red-zone offense: 26th (52.17%)

— Total defense: 2nd (288 YPG)

— Scoring defense: 4th (19.2 PPG)

— Passing defense: 2nd (199.7 YPG)

— Sacks: T18th (13)

— Rushing defense: 3rd (88.3 YPG)

— Third-down defense: 15th (40.51%)

— Red-zone defense: T20th (66.67%)

— Time of possession: 10th (30:52)

— Turnover differential: T7th (+3)

Lions

— Total offense: 23rd (354.2 YPG)

— Scoring: 15th (26 PPG)

— Passing offense: 20th (245.7 YPG)

— Sacks allowed: T16th (14)

— Rushing offense: 18th (108.5 YPG)

— Third-down offense: 26th (38.16%)

— Red-zone offense: 18th (61.54%)

— Total defense: 22nd (380.5 YPG)

— Scoring defense: 20th (27.5 PPG)

— Passing defense: 20th (248.7 YPG)

— Sacks: T28th (8)

— Rushing defense: 26th (131.8 YPG)

— Third-down defense: 24th (48.65%)

— Red-zone defense: 22nd (68%)

— Time of possession: T21st (29:34)

— Turnover differential: T7th (+3)

Colts Notes

— Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner needs 10 tackles to reach 300 career stops.

— Tight end Jack Doyle needs one TD reception to pass Tom Mitchell (19) and Dwayne Allen for the fourth-most TDs by a tight end in team history.

— Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton needs one TD catch to tie Dallas Clark (46) for sixth in team history.

— Quarterback Philip Rivers needs one game with 400-plus passing yards to tie Ben Roethlisberger (12) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history.

— Undrafted rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is fourth in league scoring with 63 points.

— Rookie returner Isaiah Rodgers leads the NFL with a 36.63-yard kickoff return average (minimum five returns).

Click Before The Game

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Indianapolis Colts: PFF Bye Week Evaluation

Inside AFC South: Top Contract-Year Players

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Looking for a podcast? Check out the Bleav in Colts Podcast on the Bleav Podcast Network.

(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is phillipbwilson24@yahoo.com.)