Two teams that came to training camp this year with Super Bowl aspirations meet in Santa Clara this Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers host the Indianapolis Colts. Today, rather than sitting at the top of their division races, both the 49ers and Colts come into play this week with losing records.
Both teams have been severely hurt by injuries.
The Colts problems began during training camp when newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz was injured and missed five weeks of work leading up to opening day. To make matters worse, the Colts offense also took a hit when All-Pro offensive lineman Quenton Newton suffered an injury similar to Wentz’s and was also expected to miss five weeks to two months.
Somehow, both Wentz and Newton made it back to open the season for Indianapolis, although Wentz was obviously bothered by the injury and then sprained both his ankles. In second week action, Newton was injured again and has not returned to the lineup although he remains questionable for this Sunday night’s matchup with the 49ers.
The Colts also took a hit on the defensive side of the ball this week when it was announced that safety Julian Blackmon is lost for the season with an Achilles tear.
With all those things going bad for the Colts, after losing their first three games the Colts have managed to win two of their most recent three games with an overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens sandwiched between wins over the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans.
Their win over the Texans last Sunday was lopsided, 31-3, which could serve to take the Colts season out of panic mode and send them into a trap at Levi’s Stadium where the 49ers are still in desperate need for wins to garner any hope of catching the leaders in the NFC West.
Their high hopes of returning to a second Super Bowl in three years have been severely blunted following three straight losses against the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. That last loss, and the setback against Seattle, included the loss of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a calf injury. His backup, Trey Lance, has shown flashes that he is a franchise quarterback but his inexperience was exploited two weeks ago in the 49ers loss to the Cardinals.
Since that setback in Arizona, the 49ers had their bye week.
It couldn’t have come at a better time.
The 49ers got to heal some of their early season injuries, and while talented tightend George Kittle will remain sidelined until at least Week Nine, Garoppolo will be back to run the 49ers offense this Sunday night.
The competition in the NFC West, where the 49ers are chasing two of the best teams in the league, the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, has them in an early season “must win” situation.
What does that leave us with on Sunday?
A rested 49ers team at home needing a win and talented enough to get it against an Indianapolis squad still beset with injuries and coming off a lopsided victory last week.
In a battle of two teams with only two wins each, it is the 49ers that get their third victory on Sunday and by a margin that beats the four point spread.
Qoxhi Picks: San Francisco 49ers (-4) over Indianapolis Colts