All-32: Michael Gallup Set for Big Game Against Colts
Welcome to All-32, a game-by-game preview of every matchup on the NFL slate each week. The goal is to provide a look at the most critical part of each game with a marriage of data and film study. As the season rolls along, the focus will narrow in on the specifics, but for this week, many of the featured players and units are big-picture projections for the teams in question.
If you're interested in our game picks, you can find them on this page.
Let's get to it. All times listed as Eastern.
Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys—Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Key Player: DAL WR Michael Gallup
The beauty of Dallas' offense is they always have answers. One drive can be all about CeeDee Lamb, then the next about Michael Gallup, then the run game can dominate the following drive, and so on. They always have some sort of solution against their opponent and can shape their game plan with that flexibility in mind. This week, against a Colts defense that defends the middle of the field well and plays good run defense, it's looking like a Gallup game.
Indianapolis' defense ranks sixth in pass defense DVOA over the middle, but 16th to the left and 31st to the right. That is a product of both Gus Bradley's closed middle-of-the-field philosophy that crowds the box and intermediate area as well as the Colts' distribution of cornerback talent. Nickelback Kenny Moore is far and away the team's best cover corner, seeing as Stephon Gilmore has lost a couple steps and Isaiah Rodgers has struggled in a starting role. Granted, Moore is unlikely to play in this game due to an ankle injury, but the point about the Colts' pass coverage production distribution remains true.
Between Bradley's philosophy and the Colts' lack of outside cornerback talent, Gallup will be in heaven. He is going to get plenty of 1-on-1 coverage versus cornerbacks he should be able to beat. It's more than just the matchup, though.
Three plays, same drive. The chemistry Prescott and Gallup have to work these tightly-contested throws is so cool to watch. Dak's timing/placement and Gallup's ability to find and fight for the ball are perfect together. pic.twitter.com/Y0ZSwwuOSE
— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) November 30, 2022
Gallup and quarterback Dak Prescott have a chemistry that few duos in the league can match as far as timing and trust go. Prescott trusts that Gallup will always be at the right landmarks and thus throws early to him, and Gallup repays Prescott by being in the right spot and plucking the ball out of the air versus tight coverage consistently. Assuming that connection doesn't go static for whatever reason, the two should be able to go up and down the field all day versus this Colts.