The Sean McVay era officially begins Sunday at the Memorial Coliseum when the Los Angeles Rams begin their 2017 season against the Indianapolis Colts (1:05 P.M. PT, TV: CBS, Radio: KSPN, 710 A.M.). Vegas currently has the installed the Rams as a four-point favorite in their Week 1 matchup.
Several key players on both teams will not be participating in Sunday’s clash. The Rams will be without star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who ended his training camp holdout on September 9. Donald is expected to play in Week 2. The Colts’ Andrew Luck is still recovering from offseason surgery. His replacement, Scott Tolzien is expected to take the snaps under center for the Colts. It would be Tolzien’s first start in four years.
Passing yards will come at a premium for both teams. Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff still has not proven to be an reliable NFL quarterback. It will be his first game in McVay’s new offense with a relatively new cast of receivers. Tolzien will be in a similar situation for the Colts.
The emphasis will for the Rams will undoubtedly be placed on the running game with running back Todd Gurley looking to bounce back from his disastrous 2016 season. Given the Colts’ ranking as the NFL’s worst run defense in 2016, allowing 4.7 yards per carry, opportunities should be there. This is something the Rams must attempt to exploit time and time again.
I do not expect either team to light up the scoreboard, but I do believe the Rams will show signs of life offensively against a mediocre Colts team replacing almost its entire starting defense. Subtract Andrew Luck, and the Colts have their work cut out for them.
Prediction: Rams 19 Colts 10
Sources: ESPN.com, Rich Hammond, OC register