Miserable weather is in the forecast for Sunday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and host San Francisco 49ers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). As of Thursday morning’s forecast, there is a 75% to 80% chance of rain throughout the game with winds at 17 mph. Temps will be in the mid-60s.
Colts (2-4 SU, 4-2 ATS) at 49ers (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS)
The skinny: The 49ers, off a bye, will be looking for their first victory in five weeks when fast-improving Indianapolis arrives for a game that’s must-see for fans who enjoy battles in lousy weather.
Facts: San Fran coach Kyle Shanahan said he is optimistic QB Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the lineup after he departed with a calf contusion in Week 4 at home against Seattle. His backup, Trey Lance, is not expected to be available after suffering a knee sprain in a 17-10 Week 5 loss at Arizona. Who’s next man up? That likely would be practice squad guy Nate Sudfeld, perhaps best known as the controversial and highly inefficient replacement for Jalen Hurts late in Philly’s Game 17 loss last year.
San Francisco is the only team to hold the Cardinals to fewer than 30 points.
Indy is coming off a 31-3 win over Houston and rookie QB Davis Mills but still owns the league’s third-worst defensive pass rating. Beleaguered Colts QB Carson Wentz is coming off two of the top three games of his six-year career (based on passer rating), including a high of 128.3 two weeks ago in that crushing 31-25 OT loss in Baltimore. Of equal importance, he’s no longer the supreme sack magnet, going down only twice each game the past four weeks. In his previous 12 outings, in Philly and with Indy, he was sacked from three to six times.
At midweek, star Colts safety Julian Blackmon suffered a season-ending Achilles injury and is out for the season.
Analysis: The 49ers were a narrow offseason choice to win the NFC West, thanks in large part to having the easiest schedule in the league based on estimated wins of their foes. Now they’re 3.5 games behind front-running Arizona, and each week it seems a key component is put on IR. First it was CB Jason Verrett, then standout RB Raheem Mostert and now TE George Kittle. There are also the usual setbacks suffered by Jimmy G, who missed the team’s last game. With Lance unlikely to suit up and play against fellow North Dakota State alum Wentz, it’s a gamble to take a San Fran team that at any moment could ask Sudfeld to reach for his helmet, especially in wet, windy conditions.
The Colts, who have covered the spread in three straight games, look like the pick here, with Wentz playing well and RB Jonathan Taylor flourishing (145 yards vs. Houston) behind an offensive line that this week might get back Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson. He just came off IR and has been practicing.
And about that 49ers bye: Teams with a week’s rest were only 13-15 ATS in 2020 when facing a team that played a week earlier.
Colts Vs. 49ers Pick
Colts 20, 49ers 14. Colts +4.5 is the play.
Last week: 8-6 ATS; 10-4 SU
Season total: 53-39-2 (.576) ATS; 63-31 (.670) SU