Coming off losses for both teams, it feels that the San Francisco 49ers are in much more of a must-win situation than the Indianapolis Colts heading into their encounter, partially due to them being the home team and playing in a tougher division.
However, even though shedding off disappointing results should be the main focus, part of the attention goes to Andrew Luck playing against his former head coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh. Unlike the Sherman – Harbaugh thing, there seems to be plenty of respect and no ill will between the two sides, heaping praise on one another before the start of the game.
But the main issue is fixing whatever went wrong for the teams in week 2, and for the 49ers it’s almost everything. Colin Kaepernick played terribly, sent scrambling by the Seattle Seahawks on almost every other possession. He did run for 87 yards, but teams would rather have him try and beat them with his legs than the way he threw against the Packers in week 1.
The Colts are trying to move away from completely relying on Andrew Luck, and it’s been seen with their committed approach to running the ball. The problem is the talent the team has at running back, with Luck being their second best rusher so far (76 yards) in two games. Ahmad Bradshaw has done OK with 4.1 yards per carry, but the Colts need Trent Richardson, arriving via trade from Cleveland but uncertain for this game in San Francisco, to pick up his new assignments and fast.
Two of the problems the 49ers present each week to NFL teams is their running and pass rushing. However, they’re averaging only 95 rushing yards per game so far this season (Frank Gore stuck on 60 yards and 30 carries), while their best front seven player, Aldon Smith, already with 3.5 sacks this season, is having another run in with the law which will surely affect him in someway.
Prediction – The Indianapolis Colts have what it takes to cause the upset. Their secondary and run-defense aren’t as bad as they were last season, and as long as Andrew Luck gets help from his running game, it should be fine. The 49ers aren’t the team they were last season at this point, which means we’ll probably see an upset.