Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets (+2, 48.5)
The Indianapolis Colts are banking that the return of quarterback Andrew Luck can put the sputtering team on the fast track to the top of the AFC South. After sitting out one game due to a concussion, Luck likely will be under center on Monday night as the visiting Colts attempt to even their record with a date against the floundering New York Jets.
Backup Scott Tolzien (two interceptions) struggled to ignite the offense in a 28-7 loss to Pittsburgh last week, dropping Indianapolis one game behind division-leading Houston (6-5) and a half-game behind upstart Tennessee (6-6). “Sitting and watching is no fun,” Luck said of his rare view from the sideline. “Playing is fun. Winning is fun.” While the Colts are still in the thick of the race in the mediocre AFC South, the Jets have dropped three in a row to rest comfortably in the basement of the AFC East. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for two touchdowns in a 22-17 loss to New England on Sunday and did the same in a 20-7 victory over Indianapolis in the last meeting on Sept. 21, 2015.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Colts (+1) – Jets (+4) + home field (-3) = Pick ‘Em
LINE HISTORY: The Colts opened as 1.5-point road favorites and with the uncertainty of starting quarterback Andrew Luck’s status (concussion) the line was slightly unstable. The spread went as low a a pick ’em early in the week, but when it became apparent that Luck would be starting the line returned to the opening number of 1.5 and by Sunday was up to Colts by 2. The total opened at 49 and was stable all week until taking a slight dip to 48.5 on Sunday evening. Check out the complete history here.
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for the Meadowlands on Monday night is for clear skies and temperatures in the low-40’s. There will be a slight cross-breeze of about 6-8 mph.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Despite a 5-6 SU record, the Colts still have plenty to play for in this game as they are just a half game behind Houston and Tennessee for first place in the AFC South division. The Colts actually have a big game on deck this coming Sunday at home versus the Titans. Indianapolis is decent on offense, but terrible on defense this season, allowing 27.4 points per game on 6.4 yards per play (versus opponents that average just 22.9 ppg and 5.7 yppl).” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
Colts – CB V. Davis (Probable, groin), QB A. Luck (Probable, concussion), C R. Kelly (Probable, shoulder), LB T. Cole (Probable, back), WR T. Hilton (Probable, back), DT H. Ridgeway (Questionable, back), CB C. Milton (Questionable, foot), T D. Good (Questionable, neck), S C. Geathers (Out, concussion), LB R. Mathis (Out, elbow), CB P. Robinson (Out, groin), CB F. Williams (I-R, undisclosed), DE K. Langford (I-R, knee), WR Q. Bray (I-R, ankle), G H. Thornton (I-R, foot), S A. Williamson (I-R, knee).
Jets – C N. Mangold (Probable), WR B. Marshall (Probable, knee), WR J. Marshall (Questionable, concussion), T B. Giacomini (Questionable, back), LB L. Mauldin (Questionable, ankle), LB B. Carter (Questionable, quadricep), WR D. Smith (Questionable, knee), CB M. Williams (Questionable, ankle), T B. Shell (Questionable, shoulder), CB N. Marshall (Questionable, ankle), S C. Pryor (Out, concussion), DT S. McLendon (Out, hamstring), WR E. Decker (I-R, shoulder), T R. Clady (I-R, shoulder), QB G. Smith (I-R, knee), TE B. Bowman (I-R, knee), LB E. Henderson (I-R, undisclosed), DE L. Thomas (I-R, shoulder), RB R. Morris (I-R, shoulder), DE J. Obioha (I-R, undisclosed).
ABOUT THE COLTS (5-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS, 7-4 O/U): Luck’s most trusted target is T.Y. Hilton (NFL fifth-best 942 receiving yards), and the elusive wideout is expected to play on Monday despite sustaining a back injury against the Steelers. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief reeled in a season high-tying six receptions last week and scored in his fourth straight game, although his yardage total (178) in that span doesn’t jump off the page. Veteran Frank Gore has struggled in each of the last two games with just 78 yards on 33 carries, but the 33-year-old needs just 30 yards rushing to move past Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett (12,739) for eighth on the NFL’s all-time list.
ABOUT THE JETS (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS, 5-5-1 O/U): Brandon Marshall reeled in his first touchdown reception since Oct. 9 on Sunday and looks to continue to torment the Colts, against whom he has 37 catches for 420 yards and four scores in his last three meetings. The veteran wideout is expected to be matched up against former Dolphins teammate Vontae Davis despite nursing knee and foot injuries that have prevented him from practicing on Thursday and Friday. New York could also look to exploit Indianapolis’ 23rd-ranked run defense (116.3 yards per game) with veteran Matt Forte, who has amassed 508 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in the past five contests.
* Colts are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
* Jets are 10-1-2 ATS in their last 13 games in December.
* Under is 21-5 in Colts’ last 26 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Under is 4-0 in Jets’ last 4 Monday games.
* Colts are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: As of Sunday night, the Covers public was favoring the road favorite Colts with 60 percent of the selections and Under was picking up 62 percent of the Covers wagers. View full consensus data here.
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