Sunday's game in Indianapolis features the Colts (4-3) against the Miami Dolphins (4-3). It will not be a laugher. The Dolphins are not the pushovers they were in years past. In fact, the latest odds have the Dolphins at one-point favorites over the Colts.
Still, the Colts—riding a two-game winning streak—will be victorious at home over the Dolphins this weekend. Here are a few key aspects of the game to consider.
Arguments for the Dolphins
One key argument in favor of the Dolphins is that backup quarterback Matt Moore—likely replacing rookie starter Ryan Tannehill—is better than he is given credit for. Moore stepped into last week's game in the first quarter when Tannehill was injured on a Calvin Pace sack. Moore finished the game—a 30-9 rout of the New York Jets—11-of-19 for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Tannehill is obviously the Dolphins quarterback of the future, evidenced by the fact that he was given the starting job as a rookie. On the other hand, Moore, at age 28, is an equally effective quarterback.
Arguments for the Colts
In order for the Colts to win, they will need to do it with their offense. The Colts offense is significantly better than the Dolphins, while the Colts defense is significantly worse.
Rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck needs to be a big part of that. However, it is not only his arm that needs to make things happen; it is also his legs. So far this season, Luck ranks as the No. 1 running quarterback in the NFL, ahead of Robert Griffin III.
Pass blocking along the offensive line is the other big thing that the Colts need to make happen. Winston Justice and Mike McGlynn need to neutralize the Dolphins pass rush, which has taken advantage of some of the weaker offensive lines they have faced.
The last thing the Colts need to do is capitalize on their long drives. The Colts can move the ball very well; they rank eighth in the NFL in total offensive yards. Yet, they are only 24th so far this year in scoring. Part of this is a result of scoring touchdowns on only 45.8 percent of red zone possessions.
If the Colts lose this game, it will be because they beat themselves. They are a young team and prone to mistakes. At the same time, they have the more talented roster and are capable of scoring at will when they execute.
If Luck can take care of the ball and make the best use of his red zone attempts, the Colts will stay above .500 this weekend and strengthen their bid for a wild card spot.