Indianapolis Colts vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chargers -4
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
When: Monday, 12/26 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Indianapolis will be looking to bounce back from a historic loss to Minnesota when it faces Los Angeles in primetime on Monday night.
The Colts blew the biggest lead in NFL history (33-0) last week at Minnesota, eventually losing in overtime in a 39-36 final. They have now dropped four consecutive games and are out of the playoff picture. Los Angeles has won three of its last four games and is priced at -1200 to make the playoffs at DraftKings as of Friday afternoon.
Los Angeles opened as a 2.5-point favorite and has climbed to -4 after five days of betting action. Monday night’s total has dipped to 45.5 points after opening at 48 in the first meeting between these teams since 2019. The Chargers have gone ‘under’ the total in five of its last seven games.
They shut down Tennessee’s offense last week, picking up a 17-14 win as 2.5-point favorites and holding the Titans to just 284 total yards. Their defense has given up an average of 142 passing yards and one touchdown over the last four games. They have also not allowed an opponent to score more than 24 points since Week 5.
“I feel like you have to be able to match up with a lot of different styles in the league,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. “Miami and Tennessee could not be more different, but your defense has to be able to change and still perform at a high level. I think I’ve been able to see more of that.”
Quarterback Justin Herbert has been able to get into a nice rhythm as well, averaging 338.3 passing yards over the past three weeks. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have both returned from their respective injuries, giving Herbert some much needed firepower to work with. Running back Austin Ekeler leads the AFC with 14 touchdowns and is five receptions away from recording the sixth 100-catch season by a running back in league history.
Indianapolis is feeling much different about itself coming into this game, especially after it was officially eliminated from the playoff race with Jacksonville’s win at New York on Thursday. The Colts are trying to bounce back from the biggest blown lead in league history and will be starting veteran backup Nick Foles at quarterback instead of the struggling Matt Ryan.
“It’s no secret, we haven’t converted in the red zone and ultimately, you’ve got to make plays in the NFL and we’re not making nearly enough explosive plays and not making plays in the red zone,” Indianapolis interim coach Jeff Saturday said. “I feel like Nick will give us a better chance to go win these last three games.”
Foles has only made one start in the last two seasons and has not thrown a pass this season. He will not have star running back Jonathan Taylor in the backfield behind him, as Taylor was lost to a season-ending injury last week. Zack Moss stepped up with a career-high 81 rushing yards and is going to get more opportunities on Monday.
Los Angeles has covered the spread in five of its last seven road games, while Indianapolis has only picked up one win in its last five home games. The Colts have gone ‘under’ in 11 of their last 14 games against AFC teams.
The pick: Los Angeles -4
I tend to target contrarian underdogs with my NFL picks, but it gets harder to do that when there is a massive motivation mismatch. Indianapolis is coming off the biggest blown lead in league history and was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday night. Los Angeles can take one step closer to clinching its playoff berth on Monday night, and it is playing its best football of the season. The Chargers have been particularly impressive on the defensive side of the ball, and Indianapolis is trying out its third quarterback of the season. Foles has performed admirably in this type of situation before, but I don’t fancy his chances without Taylor in the backfield.