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Colts Week One at the L.A. Rams: Bold Predictions

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season kicked off in surprising fashion with the defending champion New England Patriots dropping their home opener to the Kansas City Chiefs and reminding us what’s so great about football. We never really know how things are going to go until the game is played.

With that in mind, here are some bold predictions for the Colts opener against the Rams.

The Colts Defense Will Create More Turnovers Than the Rams Have Touchdowns

The Colts youth and inexperience are going to hurt them this season. They will see three defensive backs: Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston, and Malik Hooker, get plenty of playing time on Sunday. That much inexperience will catch up with them, but not this week.

Jared Goff is not a top-level quarterback. At this point, it is not even clear if he has what it takes to be a starter long term. He has a lot to prove this season before the Rams will know what they have. What’s more, the Colts whole defensive philosophy is to be opportunistic and take the ball away. There might be no better way to debut them than against a young quarterback who is eager to prove he is the real deal.

Add to that picture the preseason turnover machine John Simon, big man Johnathan Hankins, and a back-to-form Henry Anderson, and you have a chance to get some turnovers and give your offense some extra cracks at putting points on the board while taking away the opportunity for the Rams.

Marlon Mack Will Break Off a Big Play for a Touchdown.

If you didn’t know who Kareem Hunt was before last night, you know his name now. He’s the guy who ran roughshod over what was supposed to be one of the better defenses in the league. He did it to the tune of 250 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns.

That’s the kind of difference an outstanding rookie running back can make. It’s the kind Marlon Mack could have Sunday. With his role likely filling in as a third down back, Mack has the potential to see some looks as an outlet when the Rams are dialing up the blitz. If he gets the ball in space he has the ability to take it to the house for a long touchdown. He won’t be the featured back like Kareem Hunt was, but expect the national media to take note of Marlon Mack after this game.

Scott Tolzien Won’t Suck

Again, these are bold predictions. However, there is reason to believe this could be the case. First, the nastiest piece of the Rams’ pass rush, Aaron Donald, will be working out on the other side of the country. That will have definitely helped Tolzien sleep better this week. Second, he knows he doesn’t have to carry the team to win this matchup, but he also has to convince coaches that he deserves to continue starting over Jacoby Brissett. Don’t get me wrong, Brissett is the Colts’ long term option as a backup, but Tolzien will want to put some good play on film to hold off Brissett or get himself a job somewhere else down the road. He will be motivated to look downfield for guys like Hilton who have gone unnoticed this preseason.

The second part of this is going to be tied to the running game. The Colts have the best backfield in recent memory, and you can expect them to use it. While their running game won’t be dominant, expect it to play a big role in getting the play action going and relieving the pressure on Tolzien. Because of this alongside his desire to show what he can do, we will see him look like the guy we saw in week three of the preseason rather than the version of him that graced us with his presence the rest of the offseason.

The Colts Will Win By Two Scores

This one will be tough. This game has many convinced that it could end with a 6-9 score. I just don’t think that will happen. The Colts have shown us a very vanilla offense so far this season and I think we will see Moncrief, Hilton, and Jack Doyle looking much more like their normal selves.

Their running back committee will pile up close to 150 yards on the back of Mack’s big highlight reel play. It won’t be a blowout, but this game will be in hand by the time the fourth quarter winds down and will finish with a two-score margin as the defense holds Todd Gurley in check and forces the Rams to beat them with Jared Goff, who comes up short.