This Sunday at 4:25p.m., the San Francisco 49ers will face the Indianapolis Colts in a matchup where the student gets to go up against his former teacher. Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh had tremendous success together at Stanford and now as the leader for the Colts, Luck will try to come back to the Bay area and beat his old mentor.
Both teams will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season and for the third straight week the 49er defense will be tasked with stopping a great quarterback. Colin Kaepernick will try to come back one week after he struggeld mightily in Seattle.
Ironically, given the star power at the quarterback position with Luck and Kaepernick, running the football is what is going to decide the outcome of this game. So far, the Colts have done well on the ground averaging 130 yards rushing in the first two games. That will only improve with the mid-week addition of Trent Richardson. This guy is a legitimate workhorse and although he might not see many snaps, look for the Colts to use him a lot in the redzone.
The 49ers on the other hand have had trouble running the ball which brings up a red flag considering that at their core, San Francisco still remains a physical running team. Frank Gore only has only managed to tally 6o yards and will need to get going against a Colt defense that has struggled against the run. Kaepernick might also have to use his legs more often given that in week one, Terelle Pryor of the Raiders carved the Colts’ defense up with 112 yards rushing. Kaepernick is a much better pocket passer than Pryor, so if the Colts take away his ability to run, look for him to drop it off to Anquan Boldin a few times to move the chains.
Key Matchup: The Davis bros
Sure they aren’t going directly up against one another but it will be interesting to see both Vernon and Vontae Davis together on the field. It’s the first time they have met in the NFL so look for Vernon to be a little extra motivated to show his kid brother how it’s done.
X-Factor: Eric Reid
Last week the 49ers pretty much contained Russell Wilson and it all seemed to get away from them the moment Reid left the game with an injury. All indications are pointing toward him playing this week and so far he has shown that he can provide excellent coverage over the top. If the 49ers get off to an early lead and force Luck to air it out, look for Reid to make an impact.
The 49ers are coming off a beatdown at the hands of their rivals and unfortunately for the Colts, they are catching the Niners at a bad time. The 49er defense will completely shut down the Colts and Kapernick and Gore will both have bounce back games on the ground.
San Francisco 49ers: 31
Indianapolis Colts: 17