Week 5 at Indianapolis Colts
Credit the Indianapolis Colts for making huge strides to address their defense via the NFL Draft.
Defensive backs Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson should be able to contribute immediately, and Tarell Basham is a promising edge rusher, who should also make a serious impact right away.
And it’s going to be weird to see running back Frank Gore go up against his former squad.
But the story will be about quarterback Andrew Luck. Indianapolis didn’t do much to address another pressing need — its offensive line. So San Francisco’s pass-rushers could have a nice day on the road at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Why San Francisco Wins
The pass rush. Plain and simple. Getting pressure on Luck will be the only way the Niners can prevent exposure to a young secondary. Luck is perfectly adept at picking apart defenses, so upsetting his timing has to be the main factor here.
Flipping the script, the 49ers will have to do much of the same on offense. While promising, young defensive backs tend to struggle early on. Hooker’s tackling is a concern, so targeting him early might be the way to go.
Why Indianapolis Wins
San Francisco’s pass rush is good but not great. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton can have a big game here, especially if slot corner K’Waun Williams — assuming he starts — isn’t up to the challenge after a rough game in Arizona the week before.
If this game becomes more of the shootout variety, the advantage goes to Luck and Co. Luck has shown the ability to win these kinds of games. The 49ers are far from doing so.