Live Free Picks
Home Of 500 Handicappers
The preseason gave us a scary-good look at Luck, as the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft was doing a spot-on Peyton Manning impersonation. The way he played in the preseason opener was just stunning. But opposing defenses only play about two coverages in preseason games, so let’s not prepare Luck’s bust in Canton quite yet. It will be fun to watch his debut, but if Luck’s picking Julius Peppers off his back, he might not see it the same way.
In the preseason, Luck led all AFC quarterbacks with 522 passing yards. He connected on 41-of-66 passes for 522 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His rating was 89.3.
This marks the third straight season the Colts will open on the road. Indianapolis opened at divisional foe Houston in both 2010 and 2011. In 2008, the Bears and Colts battled in the season opener, with that game being the inaugural contest in Lucas Oil Stadium. Chicago took a 29-13 victory in that series meeting.
Indianapolis’ offensive cohesiveness will be evident early, unless there isn’t any. If that’s the case, things will come apart quickly for Luck and an under-talented Colts roster. We should know early on how ready Luck is. But the Bears’ offense should be more than capable of matching any fireworks Luck presents. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are staging their grand reunion, hoping to rekindle the fires they set in Denver. If they connect like they did in old times, look out. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will play after not taking a snap in the preseason, but can he be his old self?
COLTS NOTES: Chuck Pagano makes NFL debut as head coach … Colts have 34 victories on Kickoff Weekend, 2nd-most in AFC… No. 1 overall pick QB Andrew Luck finished NCAA career with 31 wins, most ever by Stanford QB … RB Donald Brown had career-best in rush yards (645) & rush tds (5) last year. WR Reggie Wayne ranks 2nd in franchise history with 862 catches for 11,708 receiving yards (Marvin Harrison, 1,102 rec., 14,580 yards). In 3 games vs. Bears (incl. SB XLI), Wayne has 4 rec. Tds … Rookie TE Coby Fleener (2nd round, No. 34), native of Lemont, IL, will make NFL debut … LB Dwight Freeney has 102.5 career sacks, 3rd-most among active players (John Abraham, 112; Jared Allen, 105). Has 2 sacks in past 2 reg-season games vs. Bears. DE Robert Mathis has 9.5+ sacks in 4 consec seasons (11.5 in ’08; 9.5 in ’09; 11 in ’10; 9.5 in ’11) … CB Vontae Davis will make Colts debut after 3 years in Mia. Davis attended Illinois
BEARS NOTES: Head coach Lovie Smith has 74 wins (incl. playoffs), 3rd most in team history behind HOFers George Halas & Mike Ditka … In past 2 Week 1 starts, QB Jay Cutler has completed 45 of 67 (67.2 pct.) for 684 yards with 4 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 108.1 rating. Incl. playoffs, when Cutler has 100+ rating, his teams are 24-0 … RB Matt Forté is only player in NFL history with 900+ rush & 400+ rec. yards in each of 1st 4 seasons. Is only player with 900+ rush yards & 50+ catches in each of past 4 seasons … WR Brandon Marshall makes Chi. debut. Has 3 100-catch seasons & can become 4th player in NFL history with 4 100-catch seasons. Had 102 catches for career-best 1,325 yards in 2007 & career-high 104 catches for 1,265 yards in 2008, both with QB Culter in Den. Aims for 6th consec 1,000-yard season. WR-KR-PR Devin Hester holds NFL record for most PR-TDs (12) & combined KR-TDs (17). Incl. playoffs, has 19 career total return TDs (12 PR, 6 KR, missed FG), tied with HOFer Deion Sanders for most in NFL history … DE Julius Peppers has 100 sacks since entering NFL in 2002, tied for 3rd most. CB Charles Tillman has 28 FFs since 2003, most by NFL DB. Earned 1st Pro Bowl berth last year.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Colts are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Colts are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 1. Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on grass. Under is 7-1 in Bears last 8 games in Week 1.
INJURY REPORT: COLTS: DNP: LB Pat Angerer (foot), G Joe Reitz (knee). LIMITED: RB Delone Carter (chest), WR T.Y. Hilton (shoulder). FULL: WR Austin Collie (head), RB Mewelde Moore (chest), CB Jerraud Powers (knee), DE Cory Redding (knee). BEARS: DNP: RB Lorenzo Booker (head). LIMITED: S Chris Conte (shoulder), P Adam Podlesh (hip). FULL: LB Brian Urlacher (knee).