The Indianapolis Colts will clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in a week one AFC battle Sunday afternoon from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Bengals recorded a 7-9 record last season, and the Colts went 4-12. The Bengals edged the Colts by a 24-23 score in October of last season.
Dalton Attempts to Lead Bengals Back to Playoffs
The Cincinnati Bengals are aiming for a return to the playoffs after they failed to recover from an 0-3 start in 2017. Andy Dalton and A.J Green are back to lead an offense that had a frustrating 2017 season. Dalton still had a solid year, amassing 3320 passing yards with a stellar 25:12 TD to INT ratio. The dangerous A.J. Green remains one of the elite receivers in the NFL, and the eight-year veteran collected 1078 receiving yards last season. The Bengals released number two receiver Brandon LaFell, and head coach Marvin Lewis is expecting 2017 first round pick John Ross to have a breakout season. The Cincinnati running game will be led by second-year running back Joe Mixon. The 22-year old had a promising 2017 season, registering 626 rushing yards in 14 games, and he could be in for a breakout season. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor revamped the Bengals playbook in the offseason, and they should display a wider variety of offensive looks this season after ranking 26th in the NFL with 18.1 points last season.
The Bengals brought in new defensive corridor Teryl Austin after ranking 30th against the run last season. They do feature some big names on defense highlighted by Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict, and Dre Kirkpatrick. Burfict will not suit up in this one as he is serving a four-game suspension. Cincinnati does have a solid secondary, and they will be tough against the pass this season. They allowed an average of 21.8 points last season, placing them 16th overall.
Andrew Luck Set to Make Long Awaited Return
The Indianapolis Colts struggled last season in the absence of their star quarterback. Fortunately, Andrew Luck is healthy and ready to go for the season opener. The 28-year old quarterback accumulated 4240 passing yards with a 31:13 TD to INT ratio in 2016 after missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. The Colts running game could be a weakness this season after ranking 22nd in the NFL in rushing last season. Colts’ new head coach Frank Reich is counting on Marlin Mack to step up. The 22-year old running back tallied 358 rushing yards in 14 games last season. Mack is questionable for this one with a hamstring injury. The Colts will be relying on a big season from T.Y. Hilton. The 28-year old wide receiver still managed to bring in 966 receiving yards last season without Andrew Luck, and he has registered at least 1000 receiving yards in four out of his last five seasons. The Colts offense will be improved after averaging only 16.4 points last season.
The Colts defense was a major weakness last season and it could hinder their success this year as well. They do feature safety Malik Hooker who could be in for a breakout season. The 2017 first round pick made three interceptions and 22 tackles in seven games last season. Indianapolis made a surprising pick by drafting linebacker Darius Leonard in the second round. He had an outstanding preseason and is expected to play a large role this season. The Colts allowed an average of 25.3 points last season, ranking them down at 30th in the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts are:
- 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games in week one.
The Cincinnati Bengals are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against the AFC.
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- 13-5-2 ATS in their last 20 games in September