The Buzz:The Indianapolis Colts come into Monday's matchup with a 5-6 record, one game back of the AFC South leading Texans. Led by Chuck Pagano, the Colts have won three of their last five games. Indianapolis played without starting QB Andrew Luck on Thanksgiving as it dropped a 28-7 contest to the visiting Steelers. Pagano said Monday he anticipates his star QB, who suffered a concussion in Week 11, to play against the Jets.
The Staples:Luck is the captain of an offense that ranks No. 15 in the league (352 yards per game) with the No. 11 passing attack (257 yards per game). This season, the fifth-year veteran has thrown for 2,827 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 62.9% of his passes for a passer rating of 94.0. The Stanford product can tuck it if needed — he's second on the team in both rushing attempts (51) and yards (246). Luck is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has recorded 13 rushing touchdowns in his career.
Luck's primary option is speed receiver T.Y. Hilton. Hilton ranks No. 5 in the league in receiving yards with 942. He also leads the team in receptions (60) and is T1 with WR Donte Moncreif with five touchdowns. The Florida International product ranks No. 2 in the league with 20 catches of at least 20 yards and has two games this season with over 170 yards receiving.
Mr. Reliable:Frank Gore, the oldest starting running back in the NFL, has been effective for the pass-happy Colts this season. The 12-year veteran leads the team in both attempts and rushing yards with 178 and 670 respectively. Gore has found the end zone four times this season and has started 90 of his last 91 games, dating back to Week 4 of the 2011 season.
The Anchors:ILB D'Qwell Jackson is the Colts' tackling machine. He leads the team with 74 stops and is on pace for 105 tackles on the year. Jackson has recorded at least 100 tackles in five consecutive seasons and has failed to reach that mark just three times in his 11-year career. The Maryland product also has 5.0 TFL, which is T2 with defensive captain Robert Mathis.
OLB Erik Walden is having his best season as a pro since his debut in 2008. Now on his fourth team in nine years, the Middle Tennessee State product has already recorded a personnel best and team-high 8.0 sacks. Walden has tallied at least one sack in four of the last five contests and also leads the team with 8.0 TFL, 12 QBH and two FF.
Indianapolis has one of the best kicker/punter combinations in the league. Ageless wonder K Adam Vinatieri, in his 21st NFL season, is T5 in field goal percentage (90.9). The South Dakota State product has yet to miss an extra point and has missed only missed two field goals the season — one 40-plus yarder and one 50-plus yarder.
P Pat McAfee, known for his exuberant personality off the field, leads the league both in gross average (50.1) and net average (47.0). The eight-year veteran has a long of 74 yards and has booted 13 balls inside the 20-yard line.