Colts Clash In Agonizing Duval Duel: Four Dynamic Players To Watch

September 17, 2022

The Colts head into Jacksonville to battle a familiar foe. Duval is calling once again.

The Week Two matchup is way more personal than it is business. For eight straight years, the Colts have yet to secure a win in Jacksonville. Taking a look at both teams, there are some players to watch. Additionally, fans should understand how they can impact the game! Let’s start with Colts quarterback Matt Ryan.

Colts’ Matt Ryan Has To Fix His Issues

Matt Ryan, the seasoned vet, former MVP, and future Hall of Famer, will lead Indy into enemy territory after an above-average outing versus the Houston Texans. Completing 64 percent of his passes, Ryan had many mistakes that stalled the Colts’ chance to secure the first week victory. Four uncharacteristic fumbles and an interception were part of Indy’s two turnovers. However, Matt Ryan is dangerous when he’s upright and focused.

This week, the team will face a pass rush that, in their last game, forced two turnovers along with hitting the quarterback four times. Ryan must stay upright to give Colts a chance to earn a win. Look to see more of the up-tempo offense that was utilized last week, especially in a game where Ryan’s leading receiver (Michael Pittman, Jr.) may not play. Last week’s mistakes and missed opportunities were the common denominator in the team having to fight back in the fourth quarter, where they put up 17 points to force overtime. Matt Ryan should spread the wealth this week and target more receivers.

Colts running back Nyheim Hines was second on the team in receptions. That has to change as well. The team needs its receivers to capitalize on makeable plays such as missed touchdowns. (Hello, Ashton Dulin and Alec Pierce.) Focus, execution, efficiency, and health are all keys to Matt Ryan leading the charge into Jacksonville to hopefully give the Colts their first win of the season.

Colts Should Capitalize On Lawrence’s Third Down Struggles

Sophomore signal caller Trevor Lawrence is coming off a rocky first game. Continuous pressure from the Commanders defense created some eye-popping mistakes. For example, Lawrence was three of ten on third down conversions, a massive hole in last week’s game. There’s no question that he should be working to improve because he will be facing another tough defense this week.

Having offensive line issues and still building a rapport with an almost new receiving core, Lawerence is experiencing growing pains. He managed to connect with newly acquired wide receiver Christian Kirk six times for 117 yards, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. He’s only completing a little over 57 percent of his passes, which isn’t too far removed from last year’s 59.5 percent completion rate. Can he fix that small, but crucial, hiccup against an aggressive Colts defense?

Colts Need To Mitigate Travon Walker‘s Impact

This year’s first overall pick has been as advertised and more. Starting his rookie season with a sack and interception, Walker has a high motor and is well primed to duke it out with Colts left tackle Matt Pryor. Average at best, Pryor is in for a test Sunday. Walker’s stats last week seemed minor (four tackles, one sack, one interception) on paper, but on the field it was quite the opposite.

A mix of speed and power, Walker has the tools to compete with some of the league’s elite pass blockers. He’s a great addition to an already stacked defense in Jacksonville. Look for Walker to continue his push for the 2022 season Defensive Rookie of The Year honor. The questions remain: can he be stopped? Or can he just be slowed down?

Colts Yannick Ngakoue’s Return Should Ignite Consistency

Colts pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue is a talent that does not get enough respect for his work. Although inconsistent, Ngakoue is a good piece of the puzzle to having a good defense. He is not a great pass rusher, but he is effective. Like years past, he disappears when a big play is needed.

Yannick can get the job done, but the team needs for him to be consistent. Only having two tackles last week, the Colts need Yannick to step it up a lot, especially if DeForest Buckner doesn’t play. He will have to be the veteran leader of an otherwise young defensive line group. (A little extra motivation should be that he’s facing the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2016 draft.) Let’s see if he will step up and show out.


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