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2017 Colts Opponent Scouting Report: Week One Special Teams, Wild Cards, and a Prediction

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Overview

On September 10, 2017 the Indianapolis Colts travel to the City of Angels to take on the Rams. In this week one match up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea for what we’re up against. The Rams have a new coaching staff and is stocked with high draft picks from years past. These aren’t the same Rams that we played in 2013 and hopefully the outcome is a little different this time too. Let’s learn more about the new look Rams.


Special Teams

  • Punter

The Rams and their fans believe they have the best punter in the league and Johnny Hekker’s resume doesn’t do much to dispute that claim. He has been named as a First Team All Pro three times in his 5 year NFL career. The Rams have also trusted Hekker to do some of the same types of things we have all watched Pat McAfee do in Indy for the past few years.

  • Hekker does his best Peyton:

Why do they shift? I can’t say for sure, but one assumes they were trying to get a specific look from the 49ers punt team. It’s also likely they just wanted to pick up a first down by causing an offside penalty. Hekker is 7 for 12 passing, with 103 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT’s with a career QB rating of 114.2. Maybe Ballard could trade a safety for Hekker and start him over Morris too.

  • Kicker

Greg Zuerlein, has had an up and down professional career but he’s been good enough for the Rams to keep and with two career 60+ yard field goals on the books, he’s got a big leg.

  • Because I couldn’t find a gif and I’m not making one for Greg Zuerlein here’s a picture:

You’re welcome, Zuerlein.


Wildcards

  • Cooper Kupp.

Kupp was a 3rd round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He has looked great in the preseason thus far and he’s been on a lot of rookie watch lists as a guy that could receive a lot of targets in a pass heavy offense.

  • The Rams Tight Ends.

Whoever wins the starting job could be in for a large role in McVay’s system. Jordan Reed benefited from this system in Washington and the Rams have a couple young options to try to fill the role. Fans seem to think Tyler Higbee will get the nod, while rookie Gerald Everett has great upside and may be a better fit. Either way look for a big day against our linebacker corp.


Summary

The LA Rams have been a bad team for a long time. Famous for 7-9 finishes, new coach Sean McVay looks to turn the franchise around and build on young existing talent. When I look at this squad I see potential. If I were a Rams fan I would be excited about the future, but I’m not a Rams fan and objectively the only hope the Rams have to be good in 2017 is if a lot of things go exactly the right way.

I found myself saying “if” this and “if” that and yeah, if everything goes right and everyone improves as much as they possibly can, this is going to be a dangerous team.

With that said, the 2017 Indianapolis Colts don’t look like a great team right now and frankly we match up poorly. A few months ago I believed this game was an easy W. Now, if we manage to win this game, it won’t come easy.


Prediction:

Sean McVay will game plan circles around Chuck Pagano, as a result Jared Goff will look far better than he likely is. The Indy offense will struggle to run the ball against a good Rams front seven and depending on how the QB2 plays against first team talent, the Colts may struggle to throw the ball too. I look for the Rams to be in control most of the game and the final score to be closer than the game actually was.

Colts 17

Rams 24