There has been some drama around the Indianapolis Colts lately. And one would have to wonder how it would affect a quarterback who is so inexperienced that he’ll be making his second NFL start on Sunday. We are talking, of course, of Sam Ehlinger, the kid from the University of Texas who has had a big burden put on his shoulders by being named the starter to replace Matt Ryan.
What the Colts have done with Ryan it’s kind of interesting to note because not only has he completely underwhelmed everybody since he came over in a trade with Atlanta, there are aspects of his contract that actually make it dangerous financially for the Colts to use him again this year. So it’s in Ehlinger’s hands, and BetOnline customers saw that while he handled the offense reasonably well in his first start, they struggled to score points. And the defense failed them at the very end, as the Washington Commander’s came 88 yards down the field to score the winning touchdown in the final seconds.
Now the move has been made to relieve offensive coordinator Marcus Brady of his duties, and one of the top running backs in the National Football League will be out of action as Ehlinger leads his team against the New England Patriots and a coach (Bill Belichick) who has been known to give a hard time to inexperienced quarterbacks.
The kickoff for this game is 1 p.m. Eastern time at Gillette Stadium, and it will be televised by CBS regionally.
The Patriots suffered an embarrassment when they were beaten 33-14 by the Chicago Bears at home, but they did make up for that a little with a 22-17 win over the Jets last Sunday. However, the offense was not totally impressive, as five different drives had to end in field goals.
In the NFL betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, New England is favored at home.
New England Patriots – 5 (- 108)
Indianapolis Colts + 5 (- 112)
Over 40.5 Points – 110
Under 40.5 points – 110
Frank Reich made sure to let everyone know he has been the play-caller all along, so apparently, not much will change with Brady’s ouster. Ehlinger will allegedly receive more responsibility as they open up the playbook a bit more. He will definitely have to do a bit extra because Jonathan Taylor, who led the NFL in rushing last season and ripped New England for 170 yards in last year’s meeting, is out of this game with an ankle injury.
Nyheim Hines, who had functioned as a third-down back but felt he wasn’t getting enough opportunity, has been shipped off to Buffalo in exchange for running back Zach Moss. So Indianapolis will have to rely greatly on Deon Jackson, a second-year man out of Duke. He caught ten passes a few weeks ago against Jacksonville.
New England’s defense has permitted just 57.3% completions, and that’s the best figure in the NFL. This stop unit has been pretty good overall, limiting the opposition to just under 200 passing yards per contest.
The Patriots will most likely try to control the football on the ground. Mac Jones played all the way last week against the Jets, but he’s been plagued by inconsistency. Jones, who made the Pro Bowl last season, has thrown only three touchdown passes but has been intercepted seven times.
In the end, Belichick will probably throw enough in the way of puzzling looks to confuse Ehlinger. And remember that Matthew Judon leads the NFL in sacks with 8.5. The Colts have gone under the total in 12 of their last 13 games, so we’ll go that way. But we’ll also lay the points with the Patriots.
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