Believe it or not, the NFL season is upon us, with a full slate of games set to go on Sunday. The Oakland Raiders will be squaring off against the Indianapolis Colts on the road in Week 1, as they look to stop Andrew Luck and company.
How will they stop Luck? What are the Colts’ biggest weaknesses?
We checked in with Evan Reller of Ink on Indy, Fansided’s site for everything Indianapolis sports, and asked him five questions about the Colts:
1. What are your expectations for the Colts this season?
I expect the Colts to make the playoffs at the very least. Many pundits have said that the Colts will take a step back, but I don’t see how. They have improved at nearly every position and their schedule isn’t all that difficult. The Colts should be able to push the Texans for the division as well.
2. How can a team effectively shut down Andrew Luck? What do you predict his stats will be against the Raiders?
Pressure him. The Colts offensive line is their weakness and is susceptible to speed rushes. Forcing him out of the pocket won’t necessarily create turnovers, and he is a threat to run, but it will lower his accuracy. That said, I believe he’ll complete 60 percent of his passes for 300 yards and give the Colts three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
3. What are the Colts’ biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Luck and the receiving corps have to be the biggest strengths. The secondary looked pretty solid in the preseason as well. The Colts are weak across the offensive line and haven’t been able to generate much of a pass rush.
4. How will former Raiders’ first round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey fit into the Colts’ offense?
DHB is listed as the second receiver on the depth chart, but how many looks he get will largely depend on how reliable he is. He looked good in the preseason, with very few drops. The Colts slot receiver, TY Hilton, has been on fire so far and many think he should be the number two guy. But it has little to do with ability, and more to do with scheme and fit. DHB will stretch the field for the Colts and open underneath routes for Reggie Wayne, Hilton, and the tight ends. I expect him to be more of a decoy than a primary target.
5. Final score prediction for Week 1?
Based on where these two teams are at, I believe that the Colts should win this one easily. Colts win 35-13.
Check out Golden Gate Sports’ responses to Ink of Indy’s questions regarding the Raiders here. Be sure to visit Ink of Indy for the latest updates and analysis on the Indianapolis sports scene.