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INDIANAPOLIS – Will they get on a run?

The Colts take a three-game losing streak into their Week 6 matchup with the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon, with a favorable schedule on the horizon.

Here are 7 things to watch as the Colts take on the Jets at 1:00 PM:

1. Another Different Offensive Line

-The good news up front: Anthony Castonzo is back in Week Six. The bad news: the Colts lost Matt Slauson this week and center Ryan Kelly only practiced one day this week. Kelly is questionable for the Jets in Week Six after practicing only on Friday (in a limited role) this week. If Kelly is down on Sunday, the Colts might have to turn to newly signed Evan Boehm, who would be seeing his first NFL action at center. With Slauson and Denzelle Good out, expect the Colts to pair Braden Smith and Mark Glowinski together on the right side of the line.

2. Stop The Run

-It was a hell of a performance from the Jets in their Week Five victory over the Broncos. New York ran for 323 yards on 38 carries, with Isaiah Crowell (15 for 219) and Bilal Powell (20 for 99) doing the heavy lifting. With the Colts missing Denico Autry (hamstring), and Margus Hunt (knee) questionable on the defensive line this week, stopping the run will have to come with the depth of the defensive line tested. Guys that might be more used to playing on passing downs will be needed on early downs against the Jets.

3. Mack Bring A Spark?

-For the first time in 2018, the Colts will have their top 4 running backs available (Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines and Robert Turbin). It will be interesting to see how Frank Reich incorporates that group into the weekly game plan. Mack is the starter and the Colts hope/believe he can bring a jolt to the run game.

4. Need The Offensive Balance

-Going along with the point above, Frank Reich was adamant this week that the Colts cannot sustain the amount of passing they’ve done through the first five weeks. No team has thrown more passes in 2018 than the Colts (246 attempts). Achieving some offensive balance would keep a defense honest, possibly set-up a currently stagnant play-action passing game and alleviate pressure from the team’s pass protection/stress on Andrew Luck.

5. Make The Jets Play From Behind

-Ideally, the Jets want to keep as much off the plate of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold as they can. That’s exactly what they did last week against the Broncos. The Colts want that script to flip. That means getting out to a lead, forcing the Jets to throw a bit more than they want to and keeping a talented New York defensive front from being that blitzing/attacking unit. The Jets don’t have elite pass catching options, so try and expose that.

6. Eliminate The Drops

-With the Colts having to chuck it 121 times the past two games, the drop numbers have been alarming. No T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle again means the Colts are still having to rely majorly on their entire wide receiver/tight end depth chart. Obviously, the drops have stalled drives early in games, but they’ve also killed momentum and that can’t happen away from home.

7. Have To Get One First

-We’ve talked this week about the favorable schedule awaiting the Colts in the month of October, and even the month of November. But before the Colts even think about getting back to .500, they have to halt this three-game losing streak. The Colts are not going to be playing top-end quarterbacks the rest of the season, so there’s a definite chance to build some momentum. You have to get at least one away from home though before the domino effect of wins can happen.

 

Bowen’s Prediction: Colts, 27-23. Considering the injury situation again in Week Six, this pick is going more off a gut feeling. Pinpointing specific reasons why the Colts should win against the Jets isn’t the easiest thing to do. I just have a feeling that Andrew Luck is going to get this done. The Jets are probably the most talented team the Colts will play the next three weeks. But they still are a 2-3 football team with a rookie quarterback. I think the returns of Anthony Castonzo, Marlon Mack, Darius Leonard and Kenny Moore will be welcomed. When the fourth quarter arrives, I see Luck making the necessary plays to get it done, whereas Darnold comes up short.