INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings want to climb out of an early hole on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Both are coming off disappointing season-opening defeats against division rivals. The Colts (0-1) lost 27-20 at Jacksonville while the Vikings (0-1) were humbled 43-34 at home by Green Bay.
The Colts haven't won a season opener since 2013, but have a streak in their favor — they’ve won five straight against the Vikings.
Here is everything you need to know about the matchup.
— Sunday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m. EDT
— Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium
— TV: FOX-59 — Tim Brando (play-by-play), Robert Smith (color), Sarah Kustok (sideline)
— To find out what games will be on in your area, check here
— Radio: WFNI 1070-AM The Fan, WLHK 97.1 HANK-FM — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color), Larra Overton (sideline), Bill Brooks (pregame/postgame analyst) | Sports USA Radio — John Ahlers (play-by-play), Mark Carrier (color)
— Colts lead, 16-7-1. The Colts have won the last five matchups dating back to 2000.
— Last game — Week 15, 2016. Colts won, 34-6.
Colts: head coach Frank Reich; offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni; defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, special teams Bubba Ventrone.
Vikings: head coach Mike Zimmer; offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak; defensive coordinators Andrew Patterson/Adam Zimmer; special teams Marwan Maalouf.
Colts lost @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-20
Vikings lost vs. Green Bay Packers, 43-34
— OUT: CB Cameron Dantzler (rib)
Storylines/Things to Watch
— Offensive Definition and Picking Your Poison: The Vikings were victimized defensively against the run and pass against the Packers. They rank 28th against the run and 31st against the pass. While it’s hard to imagine a Mike Zimmer defense staying that way, that’s the last thing we’ve seen Minnesota put on the field. The Colts currently rank third in overall offense, so we’ll see if they’re able to keep it rolling.
— Back On Track: On paper, the Colts should’ve defeated the Jaguars after outgaining them by 204 yards, but they had too many self-inflicted mistakes. The Colts had two turnovers, five penalties that averaged 16 yards each, one missed field goal, a couple of critical dropped passes, and miscues in coverage that resulted in three TDs.
— Who Steps Up at Tight End?: With Jack Doyle out, the other tight end options on the roster after Mo Alie-Cox are rookies Noah Togiai, Farrod Green, and Charlie Taumoepeau. The latter two are on the practice squad. At this point in the week, it’s unlikely a free agent could get on the field, so who will step up among these players? Reich said Alie-Cox will start.
— Putting Stress On the Passing Game: The Colts sacked Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II four times last week and pressured him 10 times. However, he was incredibly efficient in completing 19-of-20 passes. The Colts pass rush is doing just fine, but the coverage needs to tighten up and get more physical if they’re to disrupt Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and the passing game.
— Colts WR Parris Campbell vs. Vikings CB Mike Hughes: Hughes is arguably Minnesota’s top cornerback, and the nickel cornerback likely be matched up often with Campbell. The second-year Colts slot receiver had a solid opener with six receptions for 71 yards. His arrow is pointing up, so this should be a fun matchup to watch.
— Colts OTs Anthony Castonzo/Braden Smith vs. Vikings DE Yannick Ngakoue: With Danielle Hunter on injured reserve, Ngakoue is Minnesota’s top pass-rushing threat. The Colts are more than familiar with him after the former Jaguars pass rusher spent the last four years wreaking havoc with 6.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and an interception.
— Colts DT DeForest Buckner vs. Vikings IOL: The Colts acquired a shiny, new three-technique defensive tackle Buckner, who was able to make a couple standout plays in his debut. This week, he’ll be going against a Vikings interior line that is in delicate shape. Right guard Pat Elflein went on injured reserve this week, and left guard Dakota Dozier and center Garrett Bradbury earned subpar grades from Pro Football Focus in Week 1.
— Colts CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Vikings WR Adam Thielen: These two went against each other for six years in practice before the Colts signed Rhodes as a free agent this offseason. Suffice it to say, Rhodes and Thielen know each other well. Thielen’s elite route-running and Rhodes’ physicality against each other should be very entertaining.
— (Retractable-roof stadium) Sunny, 0-percent chance of precipitation, temperature in the low-70s°F, wind from the E at 9 mph.
— Head referee: Alex Kemp (seven years). Click here to see all referee assignments for Week 2.
— Over/Under: 48.5
2020 Season Leaders
— Passing: QB Philip Rivers (363 yards)
— Rushing: RB Nyheim Hines (28 yards)
— Receiving: WR Parris Campbell (71 yards)
— Touchdowns: RB Nyheim Hines (2)
— Tackles: LB Darius Leonard (10)
— Sacks: DE Denico Autry (2.0)
— Interceptions: None
— Passing: QB Kirk Cousins (259 yards)
— Rushing: RB Dalvin Cook (50 yards)
— Receiving: WR Adam Thielen (110 yards)
— Touchdowns: RB Dalvin Cook, WR Adam Thielen (2)
— Tackles: LB Eric Kendricks (11)
— Sacks: None
— Interceptions: None
Comparing 2020 Stats
— Total offense: 3rd (445.0 YPG)
— Scoring: Tied-21st (20.0 PPG)
— Passing offense: 3rd (357.0 YPG)
— Sacks allowed: Tied-4th (1)
— Rushing offense: 24th (88.0 YPG)
— Third down offense: Tied-25th (33.3%)
— Red zone offense: Tied-25th (40.0%)
— Total defense: 2nd (241.0 YPG)
— Scoring defense: Tied-21st (27.0 PPG)
— Passing defense: 2nd (150.0 YPG)
— Sacks: Tied-3rd (4)
— Running defense: 12th (91.0 YPG)
— Third down defense: Tied-20th (50.0%)
— Red zone defense: Tied-27th (100.0%)
— Time of possession: 6th (33:23)
— Turnover differential: Tied-28th (-2)
— Total offense: 10th (382.0 YPG)
— Scoring: Tied-4th (34.0 PPG)
— Passing offense: 11th (248.0 YPG)
— Sacks allowed: Tied-13th (2)
— Rushing offense: 12th (134.0 YPG)
— Third down offense: Tied-9th (50.0%)
— Red zone offense: Tied-8th (75.0%)
— Total defense: 32nd (522.0 YPG)
— Scoring defense: 32nd (43.0 PPG)
— Passing defense: 31st (364.0 YPG)
— Sacks: Tied-30th (0)
— Running defense: 28th (158.0 YPG)
— Third down defense: Tied-31st (54.6%)
— Red zone defense: Tied-8th (50.0%)
— Time of possession: 1st (41:16)
— Turnover differential: Tied-19th (-1)
— Rivers needs one game with 400-plus passing yards to tie Ben Roethlisberger (12) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. Rivers needs to start and win one game to tie Fran Tarkenton (124) for the eighth-most wins as a starting quarterback in NFL history. Rivers will also tie Terrell Suggs (226) for the 11th-most games started in NFL history with one start. Rivers needs 24 passes completed to surpass Dan Marino (4,967) for the fifth-most in NFL history. Rivers needs 366 passing yards to reach 60,000 career passing yards, and two TD passes to reach 400 career TD passes, making him only the sixth player ever to reach either mark.
— Hines needs 12 receptions to tie Joe Washington (127) for the third-most receptions by a Colts running back in their first three seasons in the NFL, and would tie Washington for the 10th-most receptions by a Colts player in their first three seasons.
— Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton needs one TD reception to tie Dallas Clark (46) for the sixth-most receiving TDs in franchise history and to tie Clark for the 11th-most total TDs in franchise history. Hilton also needs one game with 10-plus receptions to pass Don McCauley, Lydell Mitchell, Joe Washington, Anthony Johnson, and Dallas Clark (3) for the third-most such games in franchise history.
— Leonard needs five tackles to pass Quentin Coryatt (297) for the fifth-most tackles in a player’s first three seasons in franchise history. Leonard needs seven tackles to reach 300 career tackles, which would make him the first NFL player since at least 1987 to reach 300 total tackles in his first 30 career games.
— The Colts made the following roster moves this week: Elevated wide receiver Daurice Fountain to the active roster from the practice squad; placed running back Marlon Mack on injured reserve; signed kicker Matt Gay and running back Darius Jackson to the practice squad; released defensive end Gerri Green from the practice squad.
Catch Before The Game
(Jake Arthur has covered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for nearly a decade and is a contributor for the team's official website, Colts.com. He’s on Twitter and Facebook @JakeArthurNFL, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)