NFL Opening Week Matchup: Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck turned the Indianapolis Colts around last season, and continued success is expected from fans and NFL oddsmakers alike, who set the line 10.5 points in favor of Luck and the young Colts. After winning just two games in 2011, Indianapolis won 11 of 16 last year and are legit threats to win the AFC this season. The Colts have a new offensive coordinator in Pep Hamilton, who worked with Luck at Stanford and will look to utilize an offense similar to the one that Luck thrived under in his NCAA career.
Because Luck completed just 54 percent of his passes last year, expect Hamilton to focus on a lot more short pass routes, as well as looking to incorporate short runs to vary the plays up a little bit more. Incremental improvements could be all this Colts team needs to get over the hump this season, and the running back by committee approach has yet to yield extremely high returns.
The team is a bit one-dimensional with the wideouts, but it’s a good look: Reggie Wayne and the Colts receivers caught for 3,204 yards last season and they added Oakland’s best receiver in Darius Heyward-Bey.
The Colts “D” is poor and was the second-to-worst running defense in the league last year based n yards per carry and third-to-last in yards allowed per game. The team hopes that adding LaRon Landry at safety and defensive lineman Jean-Francois & Aubrayo Franklin will shore up the defense some, but it has to be a concern against teams better than their opponent this week.
The Oakland Raiders are in the depths of a rebuild and the direction of it is unclear. The team has a first year offensive coordinator in Greg Olson, and Olson’s first matter at hands will be how to make better use of franchise player Darren McFadden.
Though McFadden has battled numerous injuries, he’s also been largely the victim of having a poor line blocking for him, and Olson will seek to vary his routes to make the most of what is still a middling line. He would have averaged more than 3.3 yards per carry with better blocking, and the Raiders are still hoping they see more of a return on the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft. The team will be with a mediocre QB in Matt Flynn and his receiving corp is even less inspiring.
The Raiders best feature right now is a relatively strong defense. Jason Tarver is back for his second season as coordinator and he has some decent playmakers in Pat Sims, Vance Walker and Jason Hunter. It’s going to be tough, though, for the Raiders’ Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter to do much with the Colts receivers. Expect Luck to air it out and the Indianapolis offense to amass plenty of yards in a blowout victory, if that isn’t too obvious to state.
UNDER 6-1 in last 7 overall, OVER 5-1 in last 6 in Wk 1, UNDER 4-1 in last 5 vs AFC
6-0 ATS in last 6 home games, 0-5 ATS in last 5 wk 1, UNDER 11-2 in Colts last 13 home games
Check out our paid pick plans for the 2013 NFL season here at Maddux Sports!