The Indianapolis Colts, who currently are 2-4, take on the San Francisco 49ers, who are currently 2-3, on Sunday night. DraftKings sportsbook has the Niners as -4 point favorites over the Colts.
Here are my bold predictions for Sunday’s matchup.
- Jonathan Taylor rushes for over 150 yards
Taylor is coming off a 145-yard rushing performance against the Houston Texans last Sunday, including an 83-yard run, which is the longest rush of any Colts running back in over four decades. Taylor also averaged 10.4 yards per carry and found the end zone twice during his monstrous day.
Given the second-year running backs’ success over the last three weeks, I’d expect the Colts to lean on their bell cow early and often Sunday night. With left guard Quenton Nelson back in the starting lineup after missing the last three weeks with an ankle injury, Indy should rely heavily on its three Pro Bowl offensive lineman to help pave the way for their star running back.
Weather should also factor into the Colts’ usage of Taylor, as reports out of San Francisco call for plenty of rain. It should also be noted that the 49ers are allowing 113.2 yards per game, giving Indy even more reason to turn to Taylor often Sunday night.
- The Colts’ defense will force multiple turnovers
While the Colts have struggled as a defense in total passing yards allowed per game (366.5), where they’ve made up for their mistakes is by forcing turnovers. Currently, Indy has forced 12 total turnovers so far this season, which is fifth-best in the NFL.
The 49ers don’t exactly give the ball away (7 total giveaways on the season), but the Colts’ defense has forced one or more turnovers since Week 3. Keeping up with the likes of wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will be quite the task for Indy’s banged-up secondary, so their defensive front, led by All Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye, and others will have to step up and force Jimmy Garoppolo into making some mistakes.
San Francisco is also going to be missing arguably their best offensive lineman in left tackle Trent Williams. Although the Colts have struggled to generate much of a consistent pass rush through the first six weeks of the season, taking advantage of the weak spots along the 49ers’ offensive line will help in the defense’s effort to force turnovers.
- The Colts will earn their third victory of the season
Facing a well-rested, Kyle Shanahan-coached team is never easy. NFL teams coming off a bye week typically play rather well going into their next game. This game is just another of several tests to come for the Colts. Going on the road and beating a solid 49ers team would be a major boost in not just the win column, but for Indy’s chances at climbing their way back into the AFC divisional race.
Both of these teams appear to be much better than their records indicate, and each has enough pieces on both sides of the ball to come out victorious. That said, with as well as quarterback Carson Wentz and the rest of the Indy offense has been playing over the last couple of weeks, I think they’ll find a way to make just a few more plays than the 49ers on Sunday and improve to 3-4 on the season.