St. Louis Rams (3-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-2)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jennifer Hale
*Keys to the game: The Rams admit they wish they knew what they had in rookie RB Zac Stacy earlier in the season. The fifth-round pick has rushed for 261 yards on 53 carries the past two weeks despite facing constant eight-man fronts with opponents having little fear of the Kellen Clemens-led passing game. The Colts rank 27th against the run while allowing 4.4 yards per carry, so the Rams will feed Stacy and attempt to bleed the clock while working field position. St. Louis' own run defense has been inconsistent, however, and is ranked right below Indianapolis. The Colts do a good job of attempting to establish the run and will also utilize RBs Trent Richardson and Donald Brown in the short passing game. With QB Andrew Luck having been sacked 19 times entering the game and the Rams leading the league in sacks per pass play, the Colts certainly don't want to become one-dimensional. The quickest way for Indianapolis to breathe life into the punchless Rams is through Luck forcing the issue while under attack.
*Matchup to watch - Rams DT Michael Brockers vs. Colts LG Joe Reitz/Jeff Linkenbach: Even if Hugh Thornton (foot) is able to go, this is a significant area of concern for the Colts. With DEs Robert Quinn and Chris Long commanding so much attention on the edges, Brockers is often able to penetrate backfields working one-on-one.
*Player spotlight - Rams WR Tavon Austin: On 62 touches as a running back, receiver and punt returner, the first-round pick has totaled 346 yards for a 5.6-yard average. He leads the Rams with 31 receptions, but is averaging just 6.7 yards per catch.
*Fast facts: Of Stacy's 103 rushing attempts, only six have been for minus yardage, and he has had none in the last two games. ... The Colts lead the NFL with only six turnovers and 31 penalties against.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Colts have started slowly numerous times this season and been forced to stage furious rallies. The Rams can keep it close with hard-nosed RB Zac Stacy grinding against a soft run defense, but ultimately St. Louis doesn't have the firepower to compete with elite teams on the road.
*Our pick: Colts 20-16
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- Zac Stacy