INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to today's interconference matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions (1 p.m., CBS Sports), perception is everything.
Indianapolis brings a 7-4 record into the game, with the Colts winners of six of their last six games and prime contenders for one of the two available AFC playoff wild-card berths. The Lions, meanwhile, are 4-7 and have lost their last three games. Their hopes of making a post-season run are starting to fade.
But look a little closer. The Colts have dropped three of its five road games so far this season and have been outscored 135-54 in blowouts losses to Chicago (41-21), the New York Jets (35-9) and New England (59-21). Indianapolis is a minus-12 in takeaway/giveway ratio in games played away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Then there's Detroit, who have been beaten 34-24 by Minnesota, 24-20 by Green Bay and 34-31 in overtime to Houston a week ago. The Lions have been competitive and, in the case of the loss to the Texans, downright unlucky. A missed officials call on a Houston touchdown run, and a replay review mistake by Detroit coach Jim Schwartz in trying to challenge the play, proved to be the difference in the game.
Statistically-speaking, the Colts and Lions are very similar. Detroit is 14th in the league in points per game (24.3) and Indianapolis is 21st (20.9). The Lions are second in total offense (412.9 yards per game) and the Colts fifth (386 ypg). Detroit is first in net passing yards (312.5) and 24th in net rushing yards (100.5). Indianapolis is seventh in passing (277.7) and 17th in rushing (108.3).
It's the same for the defense. The Lions are ranked 24th in opponents scoring (25.5), 14th in opponent total offense (343.8), 22nd in opponent net rushing (122.4) and 11th in opponent net passing (221.5). The Colts, meanwhile, are 22nd in opponents scoring (24.8), 20th in opponent total offense (355.0), 21st in opponent net rushing (121.2) and 19th in opponent net passing (233.8).