Key Matchups: Chargers vs. Colts

The San Diego Chargers have always matched up well against the Indianapolis Colts. In the rematch on Sunday, there are three key matchups that may make or break this pivotal contest.

Chargers pass protection vs. Colts pass rush.

The Chargers have been keen in keeping Philip Rivers upright. But the task couldn't be greater on Sunday night, as the blockers must tangle with Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and a Lucas Oil Stadium that ricochets with a din of noise.

LT Marcus McNeill has played well since returning to the lineup; keep an eye on Jeromey Clary and see how he holds up -- that could be a bigger concern. In four career games against the Chargers, Freeney has two sacks and two forced fumbles. And Mathis has three sacks and a forced fumble in three games.

Chargers running game, which is missing heralded rookie Ryan Mathews vs. Colts run defense, which has struggled.

RB Mike Tolbert
Harry How/Getty
Mathews likely won't play again with his sprained ankle. But don't overlook Mike Tolbert and the production he has been good for in filling in for Mathews. His bruising style is no joke and the Chargers have no qualms about turning him loose on the Colts defense.

Against the run, Indy has been giving up an average of 137 yards per game; it allowed a whopping 231 to Arian Foster. The Chargers will test rookie SLB Pat Angerer.

Chargers pass rush, coming off a five-sack game, vs. Colts pass protection, which has allowed only 12 sacks.

The Chargers showed quite a pressure package in Monday's win, with Shaun Phillips leading the charge with two sacks. Phillips attended Purdue and will be revved to duplicate that showing in Indiana. Plus, Larry English is becoming more active in the two games since his return.

However, the Colts are stout in keeping Manning clean; not only don't they allow sacks they seldom allow him to be touched. But if the Chargers are to have a shot of containing Manning, they need to get their shots in on the quarterback.

Can the Bolts lose Sunday and still win the division? Talk in the message boards.

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