Date: Sunday, October 9, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT)
Location: Indianapolis, IN
TV Channel: FOX
The Indianapolis Colts’ season is unraveling, and it is only Week 5 of the NFL season. The team desperately needs a win over the Chicago Bears to prevent the season from completely collapsing.
The Colts’ 30-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars pushed their record to 1-3. This is the franchise’s worst start to a season since 2011.
The Colts’ struggles can be attributed to multiple things: slow starts offensively, terrible offensive line play, no semblance of a pass rush and injuries. It is pretty clear these issues need to be addressed if the Colts want any shot at beating the Bears.
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On the flip side, the Bears just picked up their first victory of the season. They came away with a 17-14 win over the Detroit Lions, who the Colts lost to in Week 1.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, wide receiver Eddie Royal and tight end Zach Miller spearheaded the Bears’ efficient offensive attack, and the Bears’ defense did just enough to contain the Lions’ offense.
The Bears and the Colts do not square off against one another very often. The last time these two teams met was in Week 1 of 2012. The Bears won that contest 41-21. They also played one another in the preseason. In this year’s regular season matchup, both teams are desperately searching for their second win of the season.
For the Colts, the key to their success is Andrew Luck, who is having a good season statistically. He has thrown for 1,147 passing yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
The key issue with Luck is his inconsistent play. He usually starts games slow and then his level of play rises in the second half.
To be fair, it is hard for Luck to be consistent when he is constantly under duress. So far, he has been sacked 15 times and has been pressured on 21% of the Colts’ passing plays, according to Football Outsiders.
Meanwhile, the Bears received a huge lift from Brian Hoyer, who started in place of an injured Jay Cutler. He threw for 302 passing yards and two touchdowns in the team’s win. Rookie running back Jordan Howard also added 111 rushing yards.
Overall, this game will not grab a lot of headlines, and most people will not pay attention to this game because both teams are not very good. Nonetheless, odds-makers believe the Colts are five points better than the Bears.
It is important to note this spread was made with knowledge that Hoyer would be the Bears’ starting quarterback. The point spread will change if the Bears announce Cutler is starting.
The odds-makers probably think Andrew Luck and receiver T.Y. Hilton can pick apart the Bears’ defense, which is perplexing because the Bears have only allowed 840 passing yards this season (8th in the NFL).
The Colts probably have a better shot at breaking down the Bears’ run defense, which ranks 26th in rushing yards allowed. Frank Gore has been averaging 16 rush attempts per game. They may give him more carries against the Bears in an effort to take pressure off Luck.
The Bears can take their pick on how they want to attack the Colts. Indianapolis is ranked 18th in rushing yards allowed and 25th in passing yards allowed.
Howard ran over the Lions’ defense with ease last weekend and can do it again this weekend. At the same time, both Cutler and Hoyer have enough talent to pick apart the Colts’ secondary. Also, Alshon Jeffery will be a matchup nightmare for Indianapolis.
Honestly, the Bears should probably be the favorites in this game. While both team offenses are evenly matched, Chicago has a better defense than Indianapolis. The one factor going the Colts’ way is home field advantage, and the Bears are 0-2 on the road.
This game can go either way. However, the Bears will probably take the lead early, and the Colts will come up short in a furious comeback attempt.
Prediction: Bears 24, Colts 20