Colts' defense needs to step up

Michele Tafoya takes a look at the "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Bengals and Colts.

Updated: December 15, 2006, 2:08 PM ET
By Michele Tafoya | ESPN Insider
How many yards rushing will the Bengals rack up in Indy on Monday?

The Colts have the worst rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 176.5 yards per game (5.4 yards per carry). Cincinnati's Rudi Johnson must be chomping at the bit. He's the NFL's ninth-best runner (1,054 yards on the season) and has 10 rushing touchdowns.

DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are quite a tandem, but both specialize in pass-rushing. It will be essential for them to keep Carson Palmer out of rhythm. Palmer has been clicking with both of his star receivers, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Each had more than 100 receiving yards last Sunday against the Raiders. That should have the Indianapolis defensive backs on alert.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ALSO SEE