So as far as bold predictions go, I had my best week last week. Both of my first two predictions came to pass. The Colts did get good pressure on Carson Palmer totaling 4 sacks and 9 QB hits. Malik Hooker also got his first pick and had a good enough game to net the rookie of the week honors. After that my predictions fell off a cliff though, so I won’t toot my own horn too much.
This week I’m back for another shot at it, and hopefully to get above .500 in my predictions for the first time this season, while still keeping them as gutsy as possible. So here goes nothing.
The Defense Creates 3+ Turnovers
The Browns have six turnovers in the first two weeks. In addition, they have 2 fumbles that they managed to recover themselves. It is safe to say that they have struggled to take care of the ball. Given the opportunistic nature of our defense, that is the perfect formula for a big game.
According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com appearing on the Around the NFL podcast, the Browns Quarterback DeShone Kizer is holding the ball longer than any other QB in the league through two games. That accounts for a lot of the reason for him being sacked 9 times in two games despite the offensive line being a strength of the team.
If our defense can get consistent pressure on Kizer it can both force him into making bad throws, and result in players like John Simon getting to him for big sacks and possibly fumbles. Since we will be without Andrew Luck yet again, it will be up to the defense to turn out a big performance to win a game we should win.
T.Y. Hilton Has a Big Game
This was my prediction last week and proved to be a complete failure. I’ve been pretty disappointed with our wide receivers so far this season, but one thing I noticed in several of the interviews with players this week was Hilton’s quote about going 0-3. It was simple
“Can’t happen. Won’t happen.”
It sounds similar to this one from last season.
“I have to make plays. I guarantee I’ll make plays.’’
That was leading into the week three matchup against the Chargers last season. Up until then, he had not done a whole lot. His stat line in that game? 8 catches, 174 yards, and a touchdown.
Not sure why it takes two losses to get him going, but if he was on my fantasy team I’d start him this week.
The Colts Will Not Give Up A Touchdown
This one will be tough, but I don’t want to be accused of not being bold here. The Browns struggled to run the ball effectively even behind their solid offensive line. They gave up sacks because their quarterback holds the ball too long and likes to throw deep. On the other hand, the Colts have had Vontae Davis back in practice this week, and prior to his injury, he was lighting it up in training camp.
If what we saw last week is this defense starting to put things together, we could be looking at the perfect chance to show how good they can really be. A wrinkle in that plan is that Quincy Wilson has missed the week’s practices with a banged up knee. That is something that needs to be watched, but the impact could be negated if Davis is good to go. If this defense can hold the Browns to field goals I think the Colts get a win.
Jacoby Brissett Throws for Over 300 yards, 2 TD’s and No Interceptions
Brissett’s first start wasn’t without its flaws. He held the ball too long. He was indecisive. With the game on the line, he threw a backbreaking interception. It also was not without its positives. He took good care of the ball through most of the game, escaped pressure, went through his progressions well, and made some solid throws. With another week’s preparation, I expect that Quarterbacks Coach Brian Schottenheimer will have him ready to go.
They have had a chance to see what he does well and where he struggles and I think this week we will see him take a step forward. I’m not predicting a flawless game. Brissett missed a couple open receivers in his reads last week, and that is an area he will have to show improvement, but this is an opponent whose secondary is not nearly as challenging as the one he faced last week. If he is able to play, I think they’ll utilize Mack better this week by getting him involved in the short passing game to take some pressure off Brissett as well as working to establish the running game early. That plus the T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle connections amount to a big game for Brissett and a big win for the Colts, keeping Pagano employed for another week, just like you all were hoping for!