Pat Higgins 

After losing 28-16 loss at home against the Seattle Seahawks the Colts will play Matthew Stafford and the Rams at home and are 3.5-point underdogs. 

The Colts entered the season with high hopes that plugging Carson Wentz into the QB position in place of Phil Rivers would result in a more explosive offensive behind one of the strongest offensive lines in the league. However, the Colts head into their Week 2 matchup with major question marks on the offensive line, as both LG Quentin Nelson and RT Braden Smith did not practice on Thursday. Nelson is dealing with a nagging foot injury while Smith complained of pain in his foot in the game on Sunday and has not practiced all week. Eric Fisher was brought in from Kansas City to anchor the line at left tackle but he’s still recovering from an Achilles injury from January. The dropoff between Fisher and his backup Julie’n Davenport was noticeable on Sunday.

These developments are not positive as Aaron Donald and the Dline should pressure Wentz after the Oline allowed 18 pressures, 10 QB hits and 3 sacks. Either as a result of the pressure in his face, his unwillingness to be aggressive, or both, Carson Wentz threw 40% of his passes to running backs, notched just one gain of 20+ yards and finished with just 6.6 yards per attempt against a Seattle secondary that had major question marks heading into the season. 

On the defensive side of the ball the Colts are also dealing with injuries to key starters. Both CB Xavier Rhodes and All-Pro LB Darius Leonard did not practice on Thursday. In Week 1 the Colts ranked 30th in the league in both average depth of target (ADOT) and yards after catch (YAC), an indicator that Seahawks receivers were getting separation down field and picking up chunk yardage after the catch due to soft coverage.

That Rhodes may be out and Rock Ya-Sin would be the top corner for Indy against Stafford and company is a major concern for Indy. Stafford looked rejuvenated in McVay’s play action offense in Week 1 and should be in for more of the same against a weak secondary that’s battling with key injuries and held tryouts for the safety position earlier this week.

The Rams are healthier and more aggressive on both sides of the ball. Stafford and McVay showed flashes of what they can do together on Sunday night, and I think this matchup in Indy results in more of the same. The Colts are going to struggle on offense with explosiveness if Wentz is playing behind an OL that’s banged up at both tackle positions – just look at how he played last season in Philly, when Wentz ranked 33rd of 35 qualified candidates by yards per attempt behind a line that was a revolving door all season. 

Eventually Indy will get healthy and get this figured out, but key injuries to the offensive line and in the secondary play to the Rams’ strengths and are going to be too much for Wentz and company to overcome.

Rams -3.5 (-110)