Photos courtesy of Colts.com
ISR Colts/Notre Dame Beat Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – This weekend’s game between the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) and Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) is one of the more meaningful games on both team’s entire schedules, as well as the league’s schedule this week.
The Colts are currently the 3rd seed in the AFC playoff picture, and the Bengals are right behind them at 4th. There are scenarios where both teams can earn the conference’s top seed, but it is paramount for both teams that they win out the rest of the regular season.
Broadcasting Information: Sunday, December 8th, 1:00pm ET; Cincinnati, OH, Paul Brown Stadium; TV – CBS; Radio – WFNI 107.5FM/1070AM The Fan and 97.1FM Hank FM.
Here are the three main points I will be looking for on Sunday:
- If Cincinnati gives a heavy dose of Bernard, can the Colts handle it? – It is no secret that the Colts have struggled against the run at times this season, especially against small, shifty running backs like Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard. If the Bengals shove Bernard down the Colts’ throat like they did against the Miami Dolphins, can do the Colts handle it?
- Is Greg Toler going to play? – One of the most underrated issues occurring with the Colts during their funk of the last several weeks has been the fact that the Colts defense has been missing starting cornerback Greg Toler since the Denver game. His absence has caused several players to have to play out of position. As soon as he returns, there will be improvement in the defense.
- Will the Colts offense continue to look lifeless against a good team? – Since losing Reggie Wayne, the Colts offense has looked awful for the most part. They go up against another great defense today in Cincinnati. Will they change up the game plan to make progress happen?
Colts Injury Update – Guard Hugh Thornton (neck, questionable), offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach (quadriceps, out), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot, out), linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle, questionable), cornerback Greg Toler (groin, questionable).
Bengals Injury Update – Guard Kevin Zeitler (foot, questionable).
By the end of the day, either team will still be in the AFC 3rd and 4th slots and leading their division, but whichever team will be in what slot remains to be seen. In a game that will likely feature cold, poor weather it is a complete toss-up which team can pull it off.
Jake Arthur is a senior writer at the Indy Sports Report covering the Indianapolis Colts and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts and has full media access. You can follow Jake and ISR on Twitter.