The Eagles' first road game of the 2014 season will take place in front of the eyes of the football universe on Monday Night Football as a pair of 2013 playoff teams square off.
When the Colts drafted Andrew Luck with the first-overall pick in the 2012 draft, they hoped that he would be the proverbial “franchise quarterback” that could lead the team back to the promised land where Peyton Manning had once taken them.
Two seasons and two playoff appearances later, it looks like the Colts have found their man. The Colts won two games in 2011, and in two seasons since, they've won 22. It could be said that all it took was a little bit of Luck.
Luck has accounted for 55 total touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons, and perhaps more importantly, he has become the leader that every team wants their quarterback to be. The Stanford alum's never-say-die mentality has come in handy for Indy, with perhaps no better example than the Colts' stunning 45-44 victory over Kansas City in the 2013 Wild Card round. The Colts trailed 38-10 in the third quarter, but Luck led the comeback charge, completing the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history.
In 2013, Luck was able to have success despite an almost non-existent running game and a season-ending injury for one of his biggest weapons. When Indianapolis acquired running back Trent Richardson just two games into the season, Colts fans were obviously excited. The former third-overall pick ran for 950 yards in his rookie season of 2012, but the Cleveland Browns traded him just two games into 2013. The move did not pan out, as Richardson never ran for more than 64 yards in a game and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. Not helping matters was the fact that future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Reggie Wayne tore his ACL in late October, leaving T.Y.Hilton with the lion's share of playmaking duties for the Colts receiving corps.
Defensively, the Colts were a middle of the road team in 2013. They finished 20th in the league in total defense, allowing 357.1 total yards per game, but they were similar to the Eagles in that they played with a “bend but don't break” mentality. Indianapolis allowed just 21.0 points per game in 2013, ninth-best in the NFL. Their run defense was their biggest liability, as they allowed 125.1 rushing yards per game, the seventh-most of any team. The addition of linebacker D'Qwell Jackson from the Browns should improve the unit, but the run-heavy Eagles could be in for a big day on the ground.