Date: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 4:25 p.m. ET (1:25 p.m. PT)
Location: Indianapolis, IN
TV Channel: FOX
The Indianapolis Colts begin the 2016 season with a home opener against the Detroit Lions. While there is plenty of anticipation surrounding the team, the Colts will have to deal with multiple concerns Sunday.
Both teams enter this season opener hoping to improve from disappointing 2015 seasons. The Colts were hit hard by the injury bug and finished with an 8-8 record last year. At the same time, the Lions struggled with consistency and ended last season with a 7-9 record.
Both sides believe they have the quarterbacks and the weapons to jump back into the playoff picture in 2016.
Sunday afternoon will mark the return of Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, who has not played in a regular season game since Week 9 of 2015. The 26-year-old quarterback has looked good this preseason and has everyone excited to see what he will do in 2016.
More from Indianapolis Colts
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
- Who Could the Indianapolis Colts Target in Free Agency?
- Here is Where the Colts Will Pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft
- What’s Next For the Indianapolis Colts?
- Hey Kansas City, the Indianapolis Colts are Coming
Meanwhile, the Lions will rely on quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is entering his eighth season as a starting quarterback. He threw for 4,262 passing yards and 32 passing touchdowns in 2015. However, his stats did not lead to many wins, which is why people have negative views on him.
A good majority of people believe the Colts will be the victors when these two teams meet this weekend. However, a Colts’ victory is certainly not guaranteed.
The Colts are dealing with injury concerns, and the Lions’ strengths can take advantage of their weaknesses.
For example, the Lions are a pass-first team for the most part. They like giving Stafford at least 30 pass attempts per game. The Colts’ depleted secondary may not be ready for that sort of passing barrage.
At the same time, the Colts’ offensive line was an issue during the preseason (as usual). The unit struggled to consistently protect Andrew Luck. They did not open large running lanes, which led the Colts abysmal ground game in the preseason.
The Lions have defensive linemen who can blow up the Colts’ offensive line. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah chases after quarterbacks while veteran Haloti Ngata clogs up running lanes. The Lions also drafted A’Shawn Robinson in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
To mask their weaknesses, the Colts need to pressure Stafford on defense and run quick passing plays on offense. However, there are issues with those countermeasures.
First of all, the Colts are not a prolific pass rushing team and have not been one for numerous years now. They will have to manufacture pressure on Stafford with blitzes, which will make their depleted secondary even more vulnerable on pass plays.
Also, the Colts’ receivers are not the biggest bunch. T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett are speed receivers with adequate strength. With this in mind, the Lions’ cornerback can press the Colts’ receivers to disrupt their timing with Luck.
The Colts can overcome their weaknesses and shortcomings. However, it will not be as simple as people think.
The Colts’ have not won a season opener since 2013 against the Oakland Raiders. They should end that losing streak Sunday afternoon.
Their offensive line will block well enough for Luck to make some key throws down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Lions will create big plays against the Colts’ defense. However, the defense will get a huge stop late to help seal a Colts’ victory.
Prediction: Colts 27, Lions 24