The Indianapolis Colts have a tough task Sunday with a matchup out west against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals enter Sunday on a three-game winning streak, scoring 27 points in all three contests. They now have playoff hopes as they’re 6-4 and tied with the San Francisco 49ers for second place in the NFC West. They’re also in a tie for the final Wild Card playoff spot as well.
That’s why this game Sunday is huge for the Colts. They need to show that they can beat a good team on the road. They will have their hands full with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in trying to do so. How well they can contain him will be a major factor in whether the team can pull off a win.
Fitzgerald is arguably one of the best receivers in the league as he’s definitely in the top two or three. He has 554 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 45 receptions this year. If Indianapolis wants to have a chance, they have to get a good pass rush on quarterback Carson Palmer and keep an eye on Fitzgerald at all times.
Vontae Davis will draw the matchup on him Sunday, and he needs to be on his game. All the way up until the bye week, Davis was among one of the best corners in the league. He was able to play tight man coverage and wasn’t getting beat much. But when Indianapolis played the Houston Texans following the bye week, he gave up two early scores to Andre Johnson. He was getting burned on a lot of routes and just showed some quit.
The following week against a bad St. Louis Rams team, he drew a matchup with rookie Tavon Austin. He gave up three more touchdowns on him and showed that he’s regressing after such a good start.
Last week on the road against the Tennessee Titans, he was much better. Granted they didn’t have a top receiver on their team, but he was in the right position all night. He needs to have that same kind of performance this Sunday against Fitzgerald, or this game could get lopsided quickly.
Arizona isn’t very deep on the offensive side of the ball. Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts are the only other two main targets, but they’re not very talented. In the running game, they rank 25th in the league, only averaging 85.6 yards per game. That’s why this game will depend a lot on Davis and how well he can defend.
Eric Smith is the Colts beat writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru