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5 keys to a Colts win over Miami (with video)

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Indy should bring some heat and turn Luck loose

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 12:01 am

The Indianapolis Colts enter Week 2 of the NFL season with another winnable game at home, this time against the Miami Dolphins.

For the Colts defense, it'll be a different type of opponent than the Raiders, with Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill more of a pure drop-back passer than the scrambling, elusive Terrelle Pryor.

Here are this week's 5 keys for a Colts win:

Bring the heat

Without the fear that Tannehill will burn the Colts with his feet, Indy's front line can demonstrate some of the pass-rushing skills it supposedly possesses. We all know Robert Mathis knows the art of the sack; he even got to Pryor in a crucial situation at the end of last week's game. But what of Erik Walden and Bjoern Werner? Neither looked like a suitable replacement for Dwight Freeney last week. Mathis' late sack was the only one of the game against the Raiders.

Shine on third down defense

The Raiders were 7-for-13 in third-down conversions (and converted on their only 4th-down attempt). That was a major factor in the Colts' offense having only seven series on the field (not counting the final kneel-down). It's imperative that the team find a way to shut the Dolphins down on third down and force punts. Not only does that open up the possibility of a T.Y. Hilton return, it gives Andrew Luck's efficient offense more time to work.

Go for the jugular

Critics and fans grumbled that the Colts turned too conservative after taking a 14-0 lead on the Raiders last week. The offense eschewed risks in favor of vanilla-flavored plays. Those grumblers were right. If there's one thing the Colts have yet to establish in the coach Chuck Pagano era, it's a killer instinct. If they get up 14, they need to push it to 17 or 21 ASAP to keep the pressure on the opponent.

Win the turnover battle

The Colts' Greg Toler and Antoine Bethea picked off passes against Oakland, halting early and late drives that might have led to an upset win. Meanwhile, Luck avoided interceptions and running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw took care of the ball on their runs. Ballard is out for the season now, so Bradshaw and Donald Brown must carry the load. The Dolphins intercepted Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden three times last week and sacked him six times. So Luck (who was sacked four times by Oakland) and the Colts can't afford to be casual with the ball.

Let Luck do his thing

Because the Colts have been intent on establishing a running game, which they did to a degree with 127 yards against the Raiders, Luck tied for second-fewest passing attempts of any starting quarterback in Week 1. Seventeen quarterbacks had more completions than Luck had attempts. On the other hand, Luck was third in passer rating behind Peyton Manning and Colin Kaepernick. It's good to see Luck efficient, but there's also the sense he can deliver even more if the offense loosens up this week. Colts right tackle Gosder Cherilus must find a way to hold off Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake.

The pick: Colts 30, Dolphins 23