I’ve got a couple great reasons to bet on tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup when the Indianapolis Colts entertain the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Only problem is, one of the great reasons is on one side, and the other great reason is on the other team. So, we can have a great point spread proposition on the Colts laying less than three points at home against a team they grade out better against or a team that owns a significant motivational edge in the Steelers.
It can also be ascertained by their recent play that the Colts are having fun playing for their recently named head coach, Jeff Saturday. The one time star on the Colts offensive line is now at the center of attention as the Colts midseason replacement for another popular with the players head coach, Frank Reich.
The first thing Saturday did when he took over a few weeks ago was reinstall Matt Ryan as the Colts starting quarterback. A totally anemic Indianapolis offense while under the direction of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger, which was a last ditch effort by Reich to give his team a chance while his offensive line wasn’t good enough to protect a stationary Ryan.
In other words, for Reich, plan A didn’t work and neither did Plan B, and it cost him his job. Saturday was a controversial hire, a man who had twice turned down opportunities to join the Colts coaching staff as an assistant, was suddenly the head guy.
How would this work out?
While I wouldn’t bet on Saturday ever hoisting a trophy won on Super Sunday while head coach, the ability to align a roster currently more talented than tonight’s opponent is within his grasp. Since his hiring three weeks ago, the team responded with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Saturday’s first game and a staunch challenge for the Philadelphia Eagles last week, a contest won by Philadelphia, 17-16.
Then bet on the Colts tonight?
Not a chance.
The Steelers have a head coach that is likely going to suffer his first losing season ever in Mike Tomlin. The man brings a sincere intensity to his role that inspires his team’s to their best efforts, and you can be sure that this group will do all they can to avoid handing Tomlin his first losing campaign in his 16 seasons as the Steelers head coach.
What these two teams have in common is that they both have proud traditions and are most often included when the playoff field is dealt. This year, both are unlikely participants in the postseason, and with a loss tonight, either of them could move precariously close to mathematically eliminated.
Which team has got the guile to get the win tonight?
The Steelers have our nod, but not our money.