The Indianapolis Colts made their status as legitimate contenders clear last week with a comeback win over the previously unbeaten Seahawks. They now get a chance to further their message to the league against an up-and-down San Diego Chargers team that can't seem to make up its mind on what kind of team it is.
The Chargers have alternated wins and losses all season, with the most recent valley coming in the form of a disheartening double-digit loss to the Raiders. Philip Rivers seems to be experiencing a revival -- 1,610 yards, a 73.7 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns and just five interceptions -- but hasn't been enough to smooth out the wild inconsistency of his teammates.
The Colts, on the other hand, have been rock solid, leaning on a power run game to open up options downfield for Andrew Luck, who is already looking like a tested veteran in his second year. It hasn't been all good news, though. Neck surgery will cost Ahmad Bradshaw the remainder of the season, meaning Trent Richardson will need to step up and become the feature the back the Colts hoped he would become when they gave up a first-round pick for him.
Given the trajectories of the two teams, this hasn't been a tough one for the experts to pick. Over at CBS Sports, all but one of the one of the nine panelists think the Colts will not only win, but cover the 1½-point spread. Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco has Indy winning 26-17, explaining "the improvement in both the Colts lines comes into play here."