The Indianapolis Colts host some familiar faces for their home opener. Future Colts Ring of Honor member, Antoine Bethea will start at safety. Watching a player with his history donning the horseshoe is always a little bittersweet. It’s great that he is still in the NFL years after the Colts let him go (a contract too soon) but it’s hard to imagine him playing anywhere else.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians used to be the offensive coordinator and acting head coach for the Colts in 2012, while Chuck Pagano had to miss much of the season battling Leukemia. On that same team, Cardinals backup QB Drew Stanton served as Andrew Luck’s backup. Another member of the 2012 roster, A.Q. Shipley will start at center for Arizona. Finally, injured star running back David Johnson’s projected replacement is Kerwynn Williams, who Indy drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Colts injury list includes six players that will be out today: QB Andrew Luck (shoulder), C Ryan Kelly (foot), S Darius Butler (hamstring), CB Vontae Davis (groin), ILB Antonio Morrison (elbow), and ILB Anthony Walker (hamstring).
The Cardinals are dealing with their own rash of injuries. Those who will miss the game due to injury include: RB David Johnson (wrist), WR John Brown (quad), G Mike Iupati (triceps), and T D.J. Humphries (knee). “$B” Deone Bucannon (ankle) is doubtful and TEs Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas are both questionable.
The biggest story of the game for Indianapolis is the Jacoby Brissett is slated to get his third NFL start, and his first since joining the Colts two weeks ago. He will be replacing Scott Tolzien, who had one of the ugliest games in Colts history against the Rams last week. Expect to see a relatively simplistic offensive game plan with Brissett (or anyone) simply being incapable of grasping all of the playbook in just two weeks of practice. Also, don’t be surprised if there are some issues with timing and communication.
In short, don’t expect Brissett to light the world on fire. He will have his struggles and they’re expected. Giving him reps is accepting a bit of a project but after last week, Colts fans should be okay with that.
Another big story for the Colts is that, with Darius Butler missing the game injured, first round rookie safety Malik Hooker will get his first NFL start. Given that Arians has an aggressive, downfield attacking aerial offensive style and that aging QB Carson Palmer has shown the propensity to make mistakes, there is a real chance Hooker can play an important role in the game. It also helps that the most dynamic and dangerous deep threat on the Cardinals roster, John Brown, will not be taking the field today either.
With inside linebackers Morrison and Walker both missing the game, expect to see a rotation that includes Jon Bostic, Jeremiah George, and newly re-signed Sean Spence. Also, the coaching staff has indicated that Tarrell Basham did enough last week to earn additional reps this week.
While the Colts are rightfully underdogs at home, the move at quarterback and the opportunity to get a longer look at what is still a very new look for the Colts should help fans get through any disasters that might start forming on the scoreboard throughout the game.
1:00 PM ET on Sunday, September 17, 2017
Lucas Oil Stadium — Indianapolis, IN
FOX — Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (sideline)
WFNI (107.5FM/1070 The Fan) and WLHK (Country 97.1 Hank FM) — Bob Lamey, Jim Sorgi, Matt Taylor (sideline)
Westwood One — John Sadak, Ross Tucker
TV National Broadcast Map
See which games will be shown in your area, from 506Sports.com.
Retractable roof stadium. 86’F, partly cloudy, 20% chance precipitation, wind SSW 5 mph
Carl Cheffers. He is in his 18th year of NFL officiating. Out of 17 officiating crews in 2016, Cheffers’ crew averaged the 8th-fewest penalties (15.1).
Over/Under: 44 | Spread: Arizona (-7.5) (Bovada)