Week 8 brings the San Francisco 49ers to Lucas Oil Stadium, and it creates an interesting matchup for the Colts. As has been talked about all week, Alex Smith will be starting for the 49ers, making his first start since Week 9 of 2007. Smith also made his first career start the last time these two teams played, back in 2005, which was a 28-3 easy win for the Colts, on their way to starting 13-0.
Coming into this week, the Colts are ranked 1st Offensively, 16th Defensively, and 4th Overall, according to the Winning Stats Power Rankings. The are 25th, 9th, and 22nd respectively. Pretty good defense for the 49ers, but a really bad offense. Remember, though, that the offense now has a new QB, and a shiny new receiver to throw to.
More specifics, and the table, after the jump.
Here's the full statistical preview:
|Turnovers / Game||1.00||5||1.67||15||1.17||7||1.67||15|
|Avg Start Pos||28.0||24||27.4||7||27.9||25||28.9||15|
|3 and Outs / Game||2.17||2||3.17||24||5.83||31||4.83||6|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.701||7||0.726||20||0.982||27||1.069||4|
|Net Punts Yds/Game||41.79||8||41.15||21||42.45||5||43.61||32|
- Drive Success Rate will be key today. The 49ers defense is ranked 9th, and needs to force the Colts off the field, fairly quickly, or else is going to be a long day for them. The Colts have been great this year at DSR, and I hope that can continue today.
- Same goes for both Yards/Drive and First Downs / Drive, which are semi-related to DSR. The Colts are ranked #1 Offensively, and the 49ers are in the top 10. It will be a key to victory for whichever team wins these stats.
- Peyton Manning is going to have fresh meat to throw against...Nate Clements has been benched in favor of Tarrell Brown. Head Coach Mike Singletary is changing more things this week in hopes of slowing down Manning. Unfortunately in the NFL, it is extremely difficult to change what you practice day in and day out and compete. Especially against #18.
- The 49ers are very good against the run, ranking 2nd in both RB Success Rate and Yards / Carry. Being without Donald Brown won't help either. Let's hope the Colts can just be average running the ball.
- Let's flip to the other side of the ball...the 49ers haven't turned the ball over much, averaging just over 1 TO / game. But they didn't seem to take many chances on offense, which was part of the reason, I believe, they made the QB switch. Look to see if more chances = more turnovers.
- The 49ers like short drives (27th in the NFL), and the Colts like giving up long drives (30th in NFL). Can the Colts continue to force the 49ers into short drives, or will the 49ers sustain some long drives?
- The 49ers are 2nd best in the NFL in Red Zone Efficiency, converting at 75.3%, while the Colts are ranked 8th defensively. The Colts haven't allowed a non-garbage time TD since Week 3, red zone or no red zone. Look for who matches up on Michael Crabtree, and if they double cover Vernon Davis, who had 3 TDs from Smith last week.
Prediction: Peyton Manning will be too much for the 49er secondary, and the Colts defense will get to Alex Smith consistently, causing a few turnovers. Colts 31, 49ers 13