The Indianapolis Colts are flying high as they head into the final three weeks of the season clinging to the top wild card seed. With a division title still in sight, the margin for error is very slim, and this week will be another test of how good this team truly is.
The Arizona Cardinals have many playmakers on both sides of the ball that can turn the tides of a game. While they have struggled as of late, make no mistake, this team can make a super bowl run come January.
Thankfully, the Indy’s secondary will not have to deal with DeAndre Hopkins who will miss the rest of the regular season with a knee injury.
Here are four Cardinals the Colts must game plan for in Week 16:
QB Kyler Murray
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Arizona’s high-powered offense moves through the man under center. Despite Murray’s size, his unique arm strength and quickness make him a threat on any given play. Containing him will be the key to walking away with a win, a task that will be left to Bobby Okereke and Pro Bowler Darius Leonard.
Providing pressure will have to be a top priority as well, something Matt Eberflus’ defense did well last week against New England. With Hopkins out, Murray’s production is limited as well.
OLB Markus Golden
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Golden leads the team in sacks with 11 on the year. His ability to get off the ball and provide pressure is very underrated and he can cause issues in opposing backfields.
Stopping him and fellow pass-rusher Chandler Jones will be huge for the Colts offensive line. Keeping a clean pocket for Carson Wentz to fire the ball down the field has to be part of the game plan for Frank Reich’s offense.
RB James Conner
Michael Chow-Arizona Republic
Although he is questionable for Saturday’s big matchup, Conner has been a touchdown machine in the second half of the season. He has 16 total trips to the end zone this year and his 14 rushing touchdowns are second only to Jonathan Taylor (17).
Expect Arizona to establish a run game against the Colts with Conner and Chase Edmonds. The two backs can provide a lethal one-two punch that could impact the game plan defensively.
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
As one of the best in the league at his position, Baker is a guy that has to be accounted for at all times. He is excellent in coverage, having three interceptions on the year, and can come up and help in the run game as well.
Baker will likely float over the top to prevent Michael Pittman Jr. and T.Y. Hilton from burning corners down the field. Carson Wentz must be careful with the football because Baker has a nose for the football.