The Colts go into Sunday feeling pretty disappointed about their performance against the Los Angeles Rams. As Gregg Doyel points out, Colts fans hope there was a little more than disappointment fueling them in their team meetings this week, and hopefully, that shows on the field. Like the Rams, the Cardinals will be missing their best player in this matchup, as David Johnson will be out until December with a wrist injury.
That gives the Colts an opportunity to capitalize and get a win to change some of this backward momentum that has gripped the team. I was 1 for 4 in my predictions for last week, if you give me credit for the long Mack touchdown that was hijacked by our brilliant head coach. That makes my previous predictions more bad than bold. But as Bruce Arians likes to say, “No risk-it, no biscuit.” So here goes my attempt to stay bold, but also not be completely wrong:
The Colts Defense Will Get Pressure on Carson Palmer
One of the biggest problems for the Colts in week one was the complete inability to get to Jared Goff. If given time, Carson Palmer will dissect the Colts’ inexperienced and overmatched secondary even more effectively than Goff. That’s why Ted Monachino and the Colts’ defense will be scheming up a lot of pressure to try to get to Palmer and knock him off his game early and often. The Cardinals’ offensive line has struggled, and given the loss of their starting running back, the Colts will look to make them one dimensional.
Once they have hit him a few times, his throws will begin to get more hurried, and he will make mistakes. The Colts just need a couple of those types of plays to keep themselves in the game, and getting hits on Palmer will be the best way to make those happen. I think they get 2 sacks and multiple hurries, which definitely will rattle Palmer. Coincidentally, that leads to my next prediction.
Malik Hooker Will Have His First Pick
Hooker only played 30 snaps for the defense last week and wasn’t really all that notable. That will change here in week two. In front of the home crowd early in the game, Hooker will diagnose and react to a play, and because Palmer will be under pressure he will go unseen. Hooker will jump on a pass and collect his first interception of what figures to be many as a Colt.
This is absolutely critical because the Colts offense without Andrew Luck simply is not potent enough to go toe-to-toe with the Cardinals without the defense taking advantage of some opportunities and creating takeaways.
T.Y. Hilton Will Have a Big Game
Hilton was a non-factor in the game against the Rams. Scott Tolzien’s weaknesses are the exact kinds of plays that Hilton excels in, so his game never really got off the ground. Brissett, on the other hand, does not have the same limitations. While he may not be as familiar with the playbook, his ability to make the kinds of throws Tolzien can’t, will put Hilton in a position to make some plays. In this matchup, I think he breaks 100 yards and notches a touchdown.
The Cardinals have an excellent secondary, and this won’t come easy, but will be helped by the better arm and the mobility of Brissett, as well as an effective ground game for the Colts. Speaking of that ground game.
The Colts Will Run the Ball Effectively
That is certainly not something the Cardinals want to allow. They held the Lions to just 82 yards, and that was with Matt Stafford as the passing threat. However, after watching the film on Marlon Mack, as well as seeing how effective Frank Gore looked on some of his touches, I think the running backs have the opportunity to effectively establish the run. That will do wonders for opening up the big play in the passing game. Gore will pick up 75 yards on the ground with Mack coming in for another 50 on a few chunk plays. All of this will make life even easier for Jacoby Brissett and the wide receivers, who will take full advantage.
Adam Vinatieri Will Miss Another Field Goal
Whether it is a case of the yips, or father time finally catching up with the greatest kicker of all time, Adam Vinatieri has been off. He missed a field goal and an extra point last week, and I think that struggle continues this week. For so long Vinny has been money in the bank on field goals, but once kickers begin to lose the confidence of their coach, they don’t stick around long. And let’s face it until Luck gets back, our kicker is likely to be our highest scorer. No one can play forever, and if he continues to have struggles, how long will the Colts hold onto him?
Which of these predictions do you think is most likely?
This poll is closed
The defense getting to Carson Palmer.
Hooker getting a pick.
Hilton having a big game.
An effective running game.
Vinny missing another kick.
None. You are terrible at predictions.