The Indianapolis Colts are banking on the return of Andrew Luck to get them back to respectability. Frank Reich became a better coach when Luck was cleared to resume football activities after a lengthy absence due to a shoulder injury. Without Luck the Colts limped to a 4-12 record in 2017, costing Chuck Pagano his job. One of seven new coaches around the NFL this season, Reich brings a Super Bowl ring from his time with the Eagles, and he isn’t concerned that he was the team’s second choice. Reich’s debut takes place on Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of the preseason.
This duel in Week 1 of the NFL preseason will go down Thursday, August 9, 2018, at 10 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field.
NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Indianapolis Colts +3
Seattle Seahawks -3
Seattle has had the best home field advantage in the NFL for years, and that includes the preseason. They are favored by the standard field goal, but since Pete Carroll took over in 2010, the Seahawks are 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS in preseason home games. The 3-point line may be a little low.
Reich stated this week that Luck will play in the preseason opener, and depending on how the game unfolds he could get a quarter of action. And that’s an important decision considering Luck has missed a total of 26 games over the past three seasons, including all of last season. With a massive amount of roster turnover and a new coaching staff, a majority of folks weren’t even around the last time Luck took a snap.
If there was a silver lining to last season it’s that Jacoby Brissett got his break to start in the NFL. He wasn’t bad, but the Colts were, and Brissett is primed for a role as the team’s backup. He started 15 games last season after being acquired from the Patriots and he isn’t taking the mindset of a backup into the preseason. Brad Kaaya is third on the depth chart in camp and will get some reps in Seattle.
The Seahawks will go with their starters to open preseason action and Russell Wilson will get a series before giving way to backup Austin Davis. Seattle has searched for a quality backup for some time, but they haven’t needed one with Wilson’s durability. Davis outplayed Trevone Boykin last preseason to win the backup job, but he didn’t throw a pass during a regular season game.
Davis had a strong preseason last year completing nearly 69 percent of his passes for 316 yards and a pair of touchdowns while playing all four games. Rookie Alex McGough is the only other QB currently on the roster.
A problem last season, the Colts took necessary steps to upgrade their offensive line. But they couldn’t foresee the retirement of Jake Mewhort and an injury to Anthony Castonzo. It’s great to have Luck back on the field, but unless things get ironed out up front he may not last long. The interior appears to be set with Matt Slauson and first-round pick Quenton Nelson at guards, but the edges are more of a concern.
Castonzo has been a mainstay at the all-important left tackle spot, but a hamstring injury will force him to “miss some time,” according to Reich. Denzelle Good, J’Marcus Webb and Joe Haeg will take turns at the spot and their effectiveness will determine how long and how much Luck plays during the preseason.
Free ATS Pick
Both teams have plenty to work on ahead of the regular season and that will keep them occupied. The Colts have gone with a younger roster and their offensive line is in flux. While we expect to see Luck play, his time on the field will be a determined by how well the group handles the pressure.
Seattle has been trying to establish a run game ever since Marshawn Lynch retired and Rashaad Penny could be the guy. The Seahawks are stacked at the position and we’ll see the group used heavily in the passing game. And of course the defense was overhauled with many of the familiar faces from the Legion of Boom days playing elsewhere or not playing at all. Indy will be more aggressive on offense under Reich, but the Seahawks are still tough to beat at home.
NFL Odds: Seahawks 26, Colts 20
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