Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#269 Chicago Bears vs.
#270 Indianapolis Colts
Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 7:00pm EDT
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#270 Indianapolis
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When and where: August 24, 2019, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN, 7:00 PM ET

One team will come away with their first win of the preseason when the Indianapolis Colts roll out the welcome mat for the visiting Chicago Bears. The defensive struggles in back-to-back preseason losses for the Bears are creating questions in the team’s first year without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Meanwhile, the Colts are suffering from another Andrew Luck injury problem. Will Jacoby Brissett cement his role as the opening day starter on Saturday?

Should we be concerned with the Bears’ defense?

The Bears are in a transitional period this season after losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Denver Broncos. Granted, they’ve done a tremendous job of replacing him with former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, a highly-respected defensive mind in the league. The unit has struggled throughout the first couple of preseason games, particularly in their Week 2 meeting with the New York Giants. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones looked like a veteran carving them up with his arm—11-for-14 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.

After giving up 23 points in a loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Bears then went on to give up 32 points to the Giants. However, you shouldn’t get sucked into any overreaction to the defensive struggles when former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack has been sitting on the sidelines. If anything, the lingering concerns with the Bears should be focused on the offense.

Is third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky the answer to take the Bears to the Promised Land?

That will be the lingering question when the Bears suit up for regular season action in a couple of weeks. He threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2018, which was a significant improvement over the numbers he posted in his rookie season. Yet, the Bears still need more if they have any hope of being a serious Super Bowl contender.

Update: (8/22): The Bears are expected to hold out all of their starters and some key reserves for Game 3, which is basically what they did last week against the Giants.

“It’s going to be basically very similar to what you saw last week,” said coach Matt Nagy. “So as far as going out there with our guys, I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody.”

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Who will start at quarterback for the Colts?

Imagine the difficulty of putting a winning team together without a franchise quarterback. That’s the possible conundrum facing Colts second-year head coach Frank Reich heading into Week 3 of the preseason. Four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck has resurfaced on the injury report with a calf and ankle injury. It has become customary for the Colts organization to be mum on the severity of Luck’s injuries. We’ve seen in past seasons when they’ve all but assured fans there was nothing to worry about.

So there is currently no update on Luck’s progress, which is inconvenient considering Reich is hoping to name a starting quarterback for the season-opener after Saturday’s game against the Bears. Jacoby Brissett is the obvious name that jumps out as a viable replacement. He started 15 games for the Colts in place of Luck in 2017, and he also looked sharp in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, going 8-of-10 passing for 100 yards and one touchdown.

It’s hard to make the case the Colts are even a playoff contender without Luck on the field. The team is still hopeful he’ll make a full recovery and find a way back in time for the opener, but I wouldn’t count on it given the uncertainty surrounding his health status this late in the preseason.

Update (8/22): Reich, like Nagy, is not expected to play many starters in this one.

“Just decided you’re probably not going to see most of the 1s this game,’’ Reich said Wednesday. “This will be a great opportunity for those guys who do get to play to get even more reps.’’

Update (8.23):

Not only is Luck sitting out, but now the Colts are expected to sit Jacoby Brissett. That makes sense considering the fact that Brissett could be the starter in the regular-season opener if Luck is not ready to go. Add to the fact that Cam Newton was injured in Thursday night’s action, teams will be very cautious about playing their starting or even backup quarterbacks the rest of preseason.

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Not having Luck on the field severely limits what the Colts are able to do offensively. Sure, Brissett is a terrific backup to help avoid a complete implosion, but the Colts aren’t competing for a playoff spot with him in the backfield. They’ve played that song and dance before back in 2017, and it ended with them falling flat on their faces and going 4-11.

Saturday’s game against the Bears is even more concerning, especially if coach Matt Nagy rolls out his first-team defense. The Bears boast arguably the best defensive player in football up front in Mack, but they also have players that can defend in the secondary. There have been lingering accuracy concerns for Brissett ever since he was drafted by the New England Patriots. Outside of those issues, he’s generally a smart football player capable of making plays with his legs.

There is no other option than scrambling around in the pocket with Mack breathing down your neck. Anything less would be like chancing a swim in the sewers with “Pennywise the Dancing Clown.” If Mack gets his hands on Brissett, which I expect him to do at least once, the Colts will float to a third straight loss.

Prediction: Chicago Bears (+3)

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I’m expecting the Colts and Bears to play their starters for at least the first half. The Bears have a stingy defense with playmakers all over the field, while the Colts are underrated on the defensive side. Brissett’s shortcomings in the pocket will be highlighted to some degree, while Trubisky offers a decent, yet uninspired performance. There won’t be any offensive fireworks in this one. I like the under betting total on Saturday.

Prediction: Under (40.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.