The San Francisco 49ers will look to end a 20 year losing streak against Indianapolis tonight in the rain at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers last beat the Colts in 2001, having lost the last four meetings between these two teams.
Both the Colts and Niners come into tonight’s game needing a win to stay within shouting distance of their division leaders. Indianapolis is chasing the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, they come into play tonight 2½ games back after the Titans downed the Chiefs in Nashville earlier today. The 49ers are chasing two of the best teams in the league in the NFC West where they trail both the still undefeated Arizona Cardinals and talented Los Angeles Rams.
Weather is a major concern tonight in the Bay Area. It began raining yesterday, a welcome relief for the state which is in the throes of a drought, but as the saying goes, when it rains it pours. Rain does not necessarily stymie a passing game because the receivers and quarterbacks know their routes while the defenders have to respond on a wet turf. What could affect the 49ers and Colts passing games tonight at Levi’s is the wind that is accompanying this deluge. It is forecasted to be 18 to 20 miles per hour, but the greater danger for a passing game is the gusts that move the ball.
Wind does severely limit a team’s passing attack, and on paper the Colts have the superior running game while San Francisco has lost two of their top runners to injuries. If the passing game is to work for the 49ers tonight it will be triggered by Jimmy Garoppolo, who returns to the 49ers backfield after missing nearly two games following a calf injury suffered three weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks.
San Francisco lost to the Arizona Cardinals in rookie Trey Lance’s only start, and the young 49ers signal caller is sidelined tonight with his own injury. That puts all the pressure on Garoppolo to get it done for the home team in this one.
The Colts starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, who the Colts acquired during the off-season via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, has also endured injuries this season. He hurt his leg early in training camp, missed five weeks of work, then returned for the Colts regular season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. A game won at Lucas Oil Stadium by the visiting Seahawks, 28-16.
Wentz incurred another injury in that contest, a pair of slight ankle sprains, which visibly affected his play in second week action against the Los Angeles Rams. The Colts almost pulled off the surprise win in that one with Los Angeles eking out a three point road triumph, 27-24.
After a third straight loss, the next one suffered against the Tennessee Titans, the Colts have gone on to win two of their most recent three games. Victories came over the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans, with a narrow overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens sandwiched between their only two wins of the season.
While both teams need wins tonight, the 49ers are by our charts the more likely team to have the eye of the tiger in this contest.
Considered one of the top candidates to advance to Super Bowl LVI, the 49ers for a second straight season have been hurt by injuries and find themselves with a losing mark after five games. A pair of wins to open the season were gained on the road against the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, while two of their losses were suffered in consecutive home games against the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. Two weeks ago, before their bye week, the 49ers lost a second straight division game to the Arizona Cardinals.
Weather conditions may favor the Colts tonight, but motivational factors swing the advantage dramatically to the home team.
Qoxhi Picks: San Francisco 49ers (-3½) over Indianapolis Colts