coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/16/2013 06:26 PM in NFL

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers: Preview and Pick

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers: Preview and Pick

The Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers are expected to be two of the better teams in the NFL season. Although entering week three and the game against one another both teams have one loss a pieces. It could be argued that the Colts loss was uglier but the focus will be on Andrew Luck and his old coach John Harbaugh.

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the 49ers listed as a nine point favorites. That line was destined to move and when the Colts lost to the Dolphins this line shot up and went over the key number at (-10.5) which can be found at several top rated online sportsbooks. Although the 49ers were crushed at the Seahawks in week two it has not changed the public betting opinion of the football betting public who are on the 49esr bandwagon to the tune of 52 percent which is sure to go up by game time.
The Colts are in trouble and do not seem to offer much outside of superstar quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts are very thin on the offensive line and they allowed five sacks against the Miami Dolphins and now face a tougher defense in the 49ers. The Colts need to protect Luck to succeed. This defense should be very unhappy after facing the Seahawks and getting beat up on the road.
The Colts will hope to slow down this offense by using the same scheme the Seahawks had. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not complete a pass thrown 15-plus yards downfield Sunday for the first time in 12 career starts (including the postseason). The Seahawks sacked or put Colin Kaepernick under duress on 13 of his 35 dropbacks (37.1 percent) and he was 1-7 for 14 yards on those plays. The Colts will try and put that same pressure on the quarterback, but they may not have the same talent.

The latest NFL betting trends reveal some interesting betting angles going into this game. The Colts are just 4-13 straight up in the last 17 games on the road and they have failed backers by posting a 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in the last six games overall. The 49ers are 17-7-1 straight up in the last 25 games overall and dominating at home with a 16-6-1 ATS record in the last 23 games in front of the home fans.

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/17/2013 03:17 PM

A pair of angry teams will meet late Sunday afternoon at Candlestick Park when the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) take on the San Francisco 49ers (1-1). For the 49ers, the home environment will be a far cry from what they experienced in Sunday night’s 29-3 defeat at Seattle. San Francisco never found its rhythm on Sunday night, a game that included a weather delay.

It was a stark contrast to the opening week of the regular season in which quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The 49ers outlasted the Green Bay Packers 34-28 in Week One and the offensive look from San Francisco was reminiscent of what the entire NFC saw during the 49ers 2012 Super Bowl run.

For the second times in three weeks, the Colts will encounter a read-option look from the opposing offense. While Kaepernick is more likely to throw than Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor, the lanky 49ers quarterback still leads the team in rushing after two games in 2012.

- San Francisco possesses arguably the league’s top offensive line but is still looking to establish former Pro Bowl back Frank Gore.

- New wide receiver Anquan Boldin is a familiar face to Colts fans. Boldin had 145 receiving yards for the Ravens in last year’s AFC Divisional match up with the Colts.

- 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was Stanford’s defensive coordinator in 2010 so he knows what he will be game planning against in Andrew Luck.

- Outside linebacker Aldon Smith already has 3.5 sacks in 2013 and has a total of 37.5 sacks in his three NFL seasons.

- Smith is part of the 49ers four-man linebacker group that includes All-Pros Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis.

- Since 2011 (when Jim Harbaugh and Fangio took over), the 49ers defense leads the NFL in points per game and yards per carry.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/18/2013 03:28 PM

The Indianapolis Colts have taken another hit in their starting lineup.

Tight end Dwayne Allen will miss the rest of the season with a hip injury that requires surgery, coach Chuck Pagano announced during his media session Wednesday.

Allen suffered the injury during Indianapolis' season-opening victory against Oakland on Sept. 8.

Pagano indicated Monday that Allen's injury wasn't minor, hesitating before calling him day to day. Second-year tight end Coby Fleener will start in Allen's place.

Allen is the third Colts starter to suffer a season-ending injury in less than a week.

Running back Vick Ballard went down with a knee injury last week, and the Colts lost guard Donald Thomas to a torn quadriceps during last weekend's home loss to Miami.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/18/2013 03:38 PM

On Tuesday, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio recalled how Colts quarterback Andrew Luck would occasionally drop in his office during their season together at Stanford to pick his brain on football matters.

Today, Luck, four days away from facing Fangio’s defense, joked that he should have been even more focused during those chats in 2010.

“I wish I’d paid more attention to those conversations now, I guess,” Luck said. “Coach Fangio was a great coach when I was at Stanford. Guys really loved him. He did so much for our defense there. I think as a quarterback – his door was always open for anyone to come talk to him.

“So every now and then I would have the opportunity to walk in and say hi. They whipped our butts every now and then in practice, so just figuring out ‘Why is the defense doing so well? What are our weaknesses? What are my weaknesses?’”

Three years after their season together at Stanford, Fangio will hope to uncover whatever weaknesses Luck possesses when Indianapolis visits Candlestick Park on Sunday. Jim Harbaugh, who recruited Luck to Stanford, said he didn’t pick up on many areas of his game that could be exploited during their three seasons together.

“There’s not a lot of weaknesses that he has,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a top-notch player. We’re going to have to be very sound, very good.”

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 record as a rookie while ranking seventh in the NFL in passing yards (4,374) and 14th in touchdown passes (23). There were some growing pains, however: Luck was tied for third in interceptions (18) and his passer rating (76.5) ranked 26th.

This season, he’s thrown one interception in two games and posted a 96.7 passer rating for the 1-1 Colts.

In his return to the Bay Area, he’ll face a defense that will look similar in scheme to the unit he faced in practices at Stanford as a junior in 2010. A key difference? That Division I defense didn’t have Patrick Willis … or Justin Smith … or NaVorro Bowman.

“There is some carryover in the basic shape of everything,” Luck said. “But this is a different ballgame. The players on the Niners defense are unbelievable. A lot of Pro Bowl players out there. A lot of studs. We know we’re going to have our hands incredibly full.”

Luck has a few teammates who can provide insight on San Francisco’s defense. A pair of ex-49ers, defensive end Ricky Jean Francois and outside linebacker Cam Johnson, are in Indianapolis. In addition, former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has the same role with the Colts.

Luck said it would be fun to reconnect with his college coaches Sunday. And he appreciated Fangio’s role in furthering his football education.

“He was always very accommodating,” Luck said. “And always very patient with what seemed to be a very young, snot-nosed quarterback coming in and trying to learn a little bit about defenses.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/19/2013 02:25 PM

One day after the Indianapolis Colts swung a blockbuster trade for Trent Richardson, coach Chuck Pagano praised the acquisition and confirmed the team's new featured back will play a primary role against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

"We did not bring him in here to be the water boy," Pagano told reporters Thursday. "He'll be ready to go, as much as he can handle."

The message was clear: The 49ers' defense should prepare to see a heavy dose of the second-year runner who, just days ago, loomed as a centerpiece of the Cleveland Browns. Richardson went from playing with Brandon Weeden in a muddled offense to teaming with Andrew Luck in Pep Hamilton's versatile attack.

Richardson admitted Wednesday that he first heard about the trade, of all places, from a radio report:

"I turned on the radio and all of a sudden I heard," Richardson told WOIO-TV in Cleveland. "I can't believe it. I didn't see it coming from anywhere. I had a good relationship with everybody. But I guess it's the best move for the Browns. At the end of the day, it's the best move for both of us, I guess. I wanted to be a Brown, I didn't see it coming, but at the same time, I'm a Colt now, so now I've got to move on and get ready for Sunday's game."

Pagano expressed full confidence in the team's bold front office, which swapped a first-round draft pick to transform the Colts' running game from a weakness into a strength. Asked about the future of Ahmad Bradshaw, Pagano assured the room: "You can never have enough runners."

"We're trying to build something special," Pagano said. "We're trying to build a monster here."

Richardson, by the sound of it, will help right away.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/20/2013 06:52 PM

San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith was released from jail Friday after his pickup truck apparently struck a tree, and he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession, authorities said.

Smith later took to the practice field with his teammates Friday afternoon at team headquarters in Santa Clara. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 4.

- Aldon Smith's Off-Field Troubles

Aldon Smith has faced a series of issues off the field since the 49ers drafted him with the 7th overall pick in 2011.

• Jan. 2012: Arrested in Miami on suspicion of DUI (charges later reduced)

• June 2012: Stabbed during party at his house

• Sept. 2013: Named in lawsuit by man who said he was shot during party at Smith's house

• Friday: Arrested in San Jose on suspicion of DUI

The Niners host the Indianapolis Colts at Candlestick Park on Sunday, and coach Jim Harbaugh said, "I expect Aldon to be back at work and play on Sunday."

The team released a statement Friday regarding Smith shortly after his arrest. "The 49ers organization is aware of the matter involving Aldon Smith. As we continue to gather information regarding this situation, we will have no further comment," the team said.

Smith, 23, posted $5,250 bail and was released from the Santa Clara County jail late Friday morning, just hours after he was taken into custody by police responding to a single-vehicle crash that involved his truck in San Jose, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.

San Jose police arrested Smith after officers received a call from a resident about the crash in the city's Silver Creek area around 7 a.m., Sgt. Heather Randol said.

Officers proceeded to give Smith breath and other tests after his pickup apparently struck a tree, hit a curb and left streak marks on a driveway and sidewalk.

"They conducted an investigation and determined he was under the influence," Randol said about Smith. "He was the only person inside the vehicle."

The linebacker, who played in his first Pro Bowl and helped the Niners appear in the Super Bowl last season, was also arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Miami Beach in January 2012.

Smith, who turns 24 on Wednesday, has also been named in a lawsuit by a Northern California man who said he was shot during a party at Smith's house.

In the suit filed earlier this month in Santa Clara County Superior Court, David Kleczek, an attorney for Ronndale Esporlas, claims that Smith and former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker fired weapons illegally during a party at Smith's San Jose home on June 29, 2012.

The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith and Walker, who is also named in the suit, were allegedly intoxicated on Smith's balcony when they later fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said.

Kleczek said they then moved to the driveway where he alleged more shots were fired. Esporlas, 21, was shot twice in the leg while he was "caught in the crossfire between the two groups of people firing gunshots at each other," the lawsuit said.

As a result, Esporlas, "sustained serious, catastrophic and permanent injuries," the lawsuit said. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Attorneys for Smith and Walker, 29, who currently plays for the Tennessee Titans, have said Esporlas "freely and voluntarily exposed himself to all risks of harm" by attending the party.

They say injuries suffered by Esporlas, who was shot in the leg, were not caused by the defendants.

Santa Clara County prosecutors have said they are considering criminal charges.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/20/2013 06:55 PM

The Colts under Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson never have lost consecutive games.

Last year’s accomplishment in the first year of a program and with new faces that included a slew of rookies was one of the more noteworthy statistics in a statistics-heavy season. To extend that streak, the Colts will need a road win against a franchise that lost the NFC title game in overtime at home two years ago before making the Super Bowl last year.

San Francisco has been at .500 or better through the first 34 games of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, a league first since Mike Tomlin did that at Pittsburgh.

The 49ers are a load anywhere, but particularly at home. Since 2012, the Niners have yielded only 13 TDs at home and rank in the NFL’s top four defensively in five categories involving fewest yards gained, points scored and third downs converted.

Indianapolis is rallying back from the punch to the mid-section of losing three offensive starters for the season. In maintaining the blueprint, the club responded by swinging a major trade that will help ensure the stated goal of power rushing and rush:pass balance.

Both teams need to correct the ills of the previous weekend. There are 15 teams at 1-1 (eight in the AFC) and eight at 2-0 or better (five in the AFC). Early-season footing is nice. Indianapolis was able to do that last year and emerge from the pack at mid-season.

Getting to 2-1 is important for multiple reasons, and here are SEVEN THINGS NEEDED FOR THE COLTS TO WIN:

BE ON POINT – Three penalties and 13 yards in penalties is a good number for almost every game, yet one for five yards cost the Colts four points last week in a game where points left on the field spelled a 24-20 loss. The officiating judgment on that play cost the Colts big-time. Playing away from home, be precise and do not place yourself within the purview of an official.

FOCUS ON INSTRUCTION – Sure there is familiarity among coaching staffs and players. Jim Harbaugh, Vic Fangio and Greg Roman have intelligence on the Colts and their personnel – Chuck Pagano, Andrew Luck, Pep Hamilton, Coby Fleener and a couple of others. The Colts have it, too, and it includes Greg Manusky and Ricky Jean Francois. Mid-week ruminations have been fun additions to the storyline. On Sunday for 60 minutes, block it out and focus – just do what you do.

STORM BY THE BAY – A young Colts team learned how to handle the road last year, upping a 1-2 and 2-3 start to a 4-4 finish. Road warriors? Not yet, but this team is more veteran now. San Francisco is potent at home. Where Sean Connery once welcomed mercenaries to “The Rock,” Jim Harbaugh probably welcomes visitors to “The Stick (click here).” Seattle pinned a 29-3 defeat on the Niners last week. San Francisco handled Green Bay at home in the opener with a withering offensive assault. The Colts need to weather the early storm, execute off the bat and keep it a 60-minute game.

1-2 PUNCH – The Colts were knocked to the mat over the past 7-10 days with the loss of three offensive stalwarts. Indianapolis went into last week with Ahmad Bradshaw as the feature back, and he was out there 49-of-72 snaps. Ryan Grigson answered adversity with Trent Richardson. Richardson, a “study freak,” is absorbing as much of the playbook as possible. He says there is carryover from what he knew in Cleveland. The Colts need the 1-2 punch of this tandem to keep a solid defense honest. A 5.1 rushing average looks good after two games. It would look outstanding after three games if backs can keep it inflated, and the club could rely less on Andrew Luck’s jaunts.

M*A*S*H – Without speculating too greatly on injuries, safeties Antoine Bethea (toe) and LaRon Landry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday with injuries, nor did Pat Angerer (knee). Friday? Saturday, with a long flight as well? Maybe all will be well, but missing components in the middle of a defense never is a good thing. Last week was the first time that trio played together.

EYE ON C.K. – Two games ago, Terrelle Pryor became the first opposing quarterback ever to top 100 rushing yards in the Colts’ 61 seasons. The Raiders’ style was a bit more sandlot than read-option, but Colin Kaepernick nearly helped take San Francisco to a sixth Super Bowl title last year. He is undefeated at home with nine TD passes and three scores on the ground. “Lane integrity” was a term used this week by the Colts. Players say the know what to do and coaches say off-season read-option preparations have been made. Sunday is the time for implementation.

SECOND 30 – Observers around the club have noted the fast first halves and slower second halves over the first two games. The Colts have scored 31 of their 41 points in the first half, while gaining 471-of-722 net yards, getting 25-of-41 first downs and amassing 369-of-499 passing yards. Last week, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton had 10 receptions (targeted 14 times) for 152 yards in the first half. The duo was targeted six times in the final half, and Wayne had the only reception (for 18 yards). It is a two-game sampling of the season, nothing more, but finishing strongly is important in the NFL.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/21/2013 11:52 AM

Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was making his way through the dark hallway that leads to the practice field Thursday afternoon. There was something different about him on this day. He went from normally not offering much of an expression to having, well, a little extra pep (excuse the pun) in his step.

“I’m not saying anything,” Hamilton said with a smile on his face.

Hamilton didn't have to say anything. His facial expression said it all about how he felt about the Colts trading for running back Trent Richardson. But he wasn’t talking about it until Friday, when he addressed the media on his assigned day.

Not much had changed about Hamilton almost 24 hours later. He was still just as excited about having Richardson in his offense.

“It was shocking that we would have a chance to acquire such a commodity,” Hamilton said. “I think when we prepared for the Cleveland game in the preseason, Coach (Chuck) Pagano presented some of the Cleveland’s game records to our team and Trent was at the top of that list. I think it’s just awesome. It’s an awesome deal for the Colts and the Colts fans to have an opportunity to have such a special young player on the roster now.”

It's up to Hamilton, who is in his first year as the Colts’ offensive coordinator, to make sure their “power running” game successful. Through Week 2, the Colts were fifth in the league in rushing, so they can’t be knocked in that area. But there would have a reason for concern if they'd had to go the rest of the reason with the backfield tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown.

Now, there’s no excuse not to continue to run the ball well, with Richardson and Bradshaw in the backfield.

And running the ball is an even greater necessity given the injury troubles that have struck Indianapolis' defense. Safety LaRon Landry (ankle) is already out for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Linebacker Pat Angerer (knee) is doubtful and safety Antoine Bethea (toe) and defensive lineman Cory Redding (back) are questionable.

It’s uncertain how quickly Richardson will pick up the offense. He’s only had two practices, but he'll still be the lineup against the 49ers because the Colts don't plan on using him as a water boy Sunday, according to Pagano. The Colts hope he’s a quick learner, because they need to establish a running game to keep San Francisco’s offense off the field, and that should eventually allow quarterback Andrew Luck to pass the ball when the 49ers load the box.

The Colts run some of the same schemes the Browns and the University of Alabama run, so that should help ease Richardson's learning curve.

“I don’t think he’s far off,” Hamilton said. “I think considering that we want to hand the ball off to the back quite a bit, he can do the things that we can’t coach right now. It’s just a matter of telling him ‘Hey, this is a run to the right or this is a run to the left.’ You can never really predetermine how the defensive front or the coverage is going to unfold. I think it’s just a matter of Trent learning our terminology.”

There was talk of Bradshaw and Vick Ballard splitting carries 50-50, but that will likely change with Richardson and Bradshaw. Richardson will eventually be the primary back, with Bradshaw still getting his fair share. Brown's playing time on offense is expected to be limited.

“We expect that they’ll all get an opportunity to play and to carry the football,” Hamilton said.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/21/2013 11:53 AM

Should we be surprised the San Francisco 49ers plan to play star pass-rusher Aldon Smith on Sunday at home against Indianapolis?

SmithSan Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday he expects Smith to play. Smith was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession. He was booked into county jail. He posted bail in time to practice with the team Friday. It is Smith’s second arrest for DUI and he’s had other legal issues since being drafted No. 7 overall in 2011.

Still, it's hardly a shock the 49ers plan on playing Smith -- who has 3.5 sacks this season and 37 sacks in 34 NFL games -- Sunday against the Colts. Teams pay players to play.

These things happen all the time in sports. It’s routine.

Smith will very likely get a league suspension. Perhaps the 49ers are figuring they will lose Smith for a time because of this arrest, so why add to it?

Yes. The 49ers didn’t bring along Demarcus Dobbs on a trip last season after a similar incident. Unlike Smith, Dobbs is not a star. Is there a double standard at play? Of course there is, but that’s the way the NFL works.

I am not condoning anything here. But the fact that Smith is likely to play Sunday is just a fact of life in the NFL.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/22/2013 07:18 AM

Andrew Luck gets to see his old coach who will not be happy. One of his better players in Aldon Smith was arrested and the team just lost to the Seahawks. The end result will be a 49ers blowout.

Pick: 49ers -10