vs. Indianapolis Colts
Normally, a rookie quarterback going up against one of the best defenses on the road in his NFL debut doesn't equate to victory.
Well, Andrew Luck isn't a normal rookie quarterback. He seems to possess all the necessary skills to come out and make a major impact for Indianapolis as a rookie. Luck is wise beyond his years; he reads defensive schemes to a T and is able to go through his progressions with relative ease.
Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener should cause a great deal of matchup issues for a stout Chicago Bears defense. It will be interesting to see how Chicago handles what promises to be multiple tight-end sets for Indianapolis.
Starting free safety Chris Conte was limited in practice on Wednesday (via Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune) and will be questionable for Sunday. This might leave veteran Craig Steltz with the difficult task of covering Fleener and fellow rookie Dwayne Allen between the hashes.
Obviously, Luck loves to utilize his tight end and is damn accurate delivering the ball there.
As you already know, Indianapolis transitions to the 3-4 defense this season. This leaves Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as their two starting outside linebackers. Talk about a nightmare for what has been a suspect Bears offensive line.
Needless to say, Jay Cutler needs to get the necessary protection to deliver the ball to Brandon Marshall on the outside.
I just don't see that happening.
In what might take the cake as the biggest upset of opening weekend, I have Indianapolis going into Soldier Field and defeating a Bears team with tremendously high expectations coming in.
Luck will be able to use the middle of the field—much like what we saw on a consistent basis at Stanford. While the rookie should face some tremendous pressure, he already possesses elite pocket awareness and does a great job stepping up against the pressure.
Meanwhile, Chicago will see their timing thrown off by what promises to be an unconventional scheme, courtesy of new Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Cutler will have a hell of a time avoiding this pressure and should make a couple untimely mistakes.
Colts take this one.