Indianapolis Colts (2-4) at San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
The 49ers were a team I expected to make a big leap in win total this season, but that was largely dependent on them staying relatively healthy compared to last season’s disastrous injury situation, which hasn’t quite happened. Jimmy Garoppolo will return this week from a one-week absence, getting extra rest over last week’s bye week, but he returns to an offense without arguably it’s two most important players, tight end George Kittle and left tackle Trent Williams, who are both among the top players in the league at their respective positions, making them monumental absences for the 49ers.
This 49ers’ offense also remains without starting running back Raheem Mostert, while Garoppolo could be at risk of an in-game setback, given his injury history, in which case the 49ers would have to turn to third string quarterback Nate Sudfeld with regular backup Trey Lance out and Sudfeld would be a significant dropoff under center if he had to see action. Meanwhile, their defense will be without rotational defensive tackles Maurice Hurst and Javon Kinlaw, starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw, and top cornerback Jason Verrett.
The 49ers are still not as injury plagued as a year ago and their disappointing 6-10 record a year ago could have been a lot better had the 49ers not lost several close games in which the turnover margin almost definitely decided the game, but they are just a slightly above average team in my roster rankings right now. The Colts, meanwhile, have been as banged up as any team in the league thus far, but they haven’t been terrible all things considered, ranking 13th in schedule adjusted first down rate, 24th in schedule adjusted yards per play allowed, and 18th in special teams DVOA, and they’re getting healthier and have been playing better of late.
The big injury development for the Colts in recent weeks has been Carson Wentz returning to form after early season foot issues and he’ll get the added benefit of having stud left guard Quenton Nelson return to the lineup this week after a 3-game absence. I have the 49ers as the slightly better team in my roster rankings right now and they are at home, but my calculated line is just San Francisco -3, so we’re getting some line value with the Colts at +4. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to bet, especially considering the Colts play in the eastern time zone and now have to travel west for a night game, a spot in which teams cover less than a third of the time historically. I am still taking the Colts, but only for pick ’em purposes.
Update: Looking at this game more, this line really isn’t that far off and the 49ers do have the big edge in a night game. I wouldn’t bet on the 49ers, but I’m changing this pick to them for pick ’em purposes.
San Francisco 49ers 26 Indianapolis Colts 20
Pick against the spread: San Francisco -4