NFL Sunday Odds: Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: ATL -5
Total: 47.5

Betting odds c/o Bovada

The 4-5 Indianapolis Colts are coming off a bye week but won 27-24 over the Denver Broncos on Nov. 8 and the Colts are tied with Houston for the lead in the AFC South.

The prognosis is still not good with QB Andrew Luck scheduled to miss two to six weeks with a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle. Matt Hasselbeck will get the start for the Colts who are 5-point underdogs to the Atlanta Falcons in NFL action Sunday on CBS (Noon ET start time).

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Colts HC Chuck Pagano feels comfortable with Hasselbeck in the pocket, “We’ve won with Matt, we’ll win again with Matt,” he said. Hasselbeck guided the Colts to wins over Jacksonville and Houston while Luck was out with a shoulder injury. Though now age 40, he completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 495 yards with three TDs and no turnovers in those wins.

Both games were decided by one possession. The Colts have a new Offensive Coordinator in Rob Chudzinski, and he coached the offense to a good game in which it took care of the football, not committing a single turnover after having seven the prior two games. The Colts are still neg-7 in turnovers this season.

Hasselbeck brings experience and know-how, and the Colts are lucky to have a backup so well trained. “I know my limitations and that might be my strength,” Hasselbeck said.

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Atlanta’s defense has been poor though. It has lost two straight games and lost 17-16 to the 49ers and 23-20 to the Buccaneers. Both teams combined for an average of 304 yards total offense. The Falcons started the season 5-0 but has dropped three of four, while mostly having trouble scoring with just 16.8 points per game over those four.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan said “We just need to get back to executing…improve third downs and red zone. In order to be better in those situations, to me it comes down to making the plays when you have the opportunity.”

Ryan has thrown for 700 yards with a 74.4 percent completion clip, three TDs and one INT over the four game stint. His rush has been ineffective, getting just 17 yards on 14 attempts while the Falcons average just 2.88 yards per attempt, after going for 4.36 in its first seven games.

RB Devonta Freeman averaged 3.03 yards after going for 100-plus yards in three straight games. It leaves the Falcons looking at other options. Freeman averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his first five starts, and Pagano is wondering if he can keep the Falcons running game in check, or what it might take even given it struggles.

The Colts have been good at stopping the run, giving up just 35 yards to the Broncos. But the Colts secondary may be a point of weakness. The Colts pass defense is the league’s fifth worst, and while injuries have played no small role, this week has plenty of those two.

Safety Mike Adams injured his left ankle in the Denver game and he is not going to be able to go this week. CB Vontae Davis said “To me it’s all about play our best ball at the right time of year, we’ve got a ways to go but we are getting better.”

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