Indianapolis Colts (0-0) vs. Los Angeles Rams (0-0)
NFL Week One: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 4:05pm EST
Line: Indianapolis -3
The Los Angeles Rams will collide with the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener Sunday afternoon from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Colts posted an 8-8 record last season, and the Rams went an abysmal 4-12. These teams last met in 2013 with the Rams notching a 38-8 victory.
Luck Likely Out for Week One
The Indianapolis Colts head into the season with some uncertainty regarding the health of Andrew Luck. The 27-year old quarterback is likely to miss week one as he recovers from his shoulder injury and it is not yet known when he will return. Luck had a stellar 2016 season, accumulating 4240 passing yards with a 31:13 TD to INT ratio. Head coach Chuck Pagano will likely be going with Scott Tolzien in place of Andrew Luck. The 29-year old quarterback had a decent preseason. The Colts running game could be a problem this season. Frank Gore did have a solid 2016 season as he managed to surpass the 1,000 yard mark, however, the 34-year old back is not as productive as he once was. Ty Hilton led the entire NFL with 1,448 receiving yards last season and he will be relied on heavily again this season.
The Indianapolis defense will again be a problem this year. They lack depth in most areas and are thin at linebacker. They did draft Malik Hooker with their first round pick and the former Ohio State standout should make an immediate impact at safety.
The Colts averaged a solid 25.7 points per game last year, good for eighth in the NFL. The Indianapolis defense allowed an average of 24.5 points per game, placing them 22nd overall.
Rams Goff Needs to Show Improvement
The Los Angeles Rams head into the 2017 season with several question marks on offense. First, they will need former first overall pick Jared Goff to be much better after a very disappointing 2016 rookie season. The 22-year old quarterback registered 1089 passing yards with a weak 5:7 TD to INT ratio, and averaged just 5.3 passing yards per attempt last year. He looked good in his second preseason game but again seemed to revert to his old ways in the next contest. Another question mark is running back Todd Gurley. The former tenth overall pick rushed for a terrific 1106 yards in his 2015 rookie season, however, he regressed last season, accruing only 885 yards. Furthermore, his yards per carry went down from 4.8 yards to an average of 3.2 yards per carry last season. The Bills did add Sammy Watkins in a trade in the preseason which will add to a thin receiving core.
The Rams defense will be switching up their defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips so it could take time to adjust. They do feature Aaron Donald who made eight sacks and 47 tackles last season. L.A. is thin at linebacker and it could be another rough season defensively.
The Rams offense struggled big time last season, averaging an NFL low 14 points per game. The L.A. defense conceded 24.6 points per game, placing them 23rd overall.
The Indianapolis Colts are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 September games.
- 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games in week one.
The Los Angeles Rams are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the points with the Rams in this contest. Andrew Luck will likely not be suiting up and probable starter Scott Tolzien is not a strong quarterback. Tolzien does not have much experience and the Rams do feature a strong pass defense that only allowed an average of 233 passing yards per game in 2016. Furthermore, the Colts own a weak defense and they will give up yards on the ground, so I expect Todd Gurley to have a solid afternoon. Gurley underachieved last season and is primed for a big season, plus Goff should also be improved.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams +3
The Colts will likely have a tough time moving the ball in the air and the Rams are not a strong offensive team. I do not expect either team to pour on the points as last year the Rams were the worst offensive team in the NFL and the Colts are without Andrew Luck. The Rams feature solid pieces on defense that should be able to handle Scott Tolzien, and the under is 19-9 in their last 28 games overall. The Colts defense is shaky however they are facing the questionable Jared Goff, and the under is 4-1 in the Rams last five September games.