In the final preseason game of week one, the Indianapolis Colts travel to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1pm ET, Sunday).
This will be a match-up of two teams with two of the best offenses in the league. It will also be the first match-up for the two teams since the Eagles came back from a huge deficit last season to defeat the Colts in nail-biting fashion.
Here our preview details some storylines that will influence our betting picks conclusion for the game.
PHI: Sanchez not Bradford, to Play Game One
There have been a lot of headlines surrounding the Eagles this offseason, not the least of which that have been about the quarterback situation the team is currently facing. Entering week one, the team still has four QBs on its depth chart. This number will likely drop one with Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow, who is expected to get playing time Sunday, competing for that final spot.
As far as the starter goes, it doesn’t seem there is much of a positional battle. The Eagles brought over Sam Bradford from the St. Louis Rams and if healthy, there is no doubt he is the man Philadelphia wants under center. Bradford will get an extra week of rest as Chip Kelly announced he will be starting game two while Mark Sanchez will be the man in game one. Sanchez is likely not in the mix to be the starter come opening day but a strong performance after a strong camp could go a long way.
IND: Starters to Play but Not for Long
Unlike the Eagles, who are still looking to use the preseason to see how their QB situation shakes out, the Colts know who their quarterback is and he’s someone who has been one of the best young gunslingers in the game ever since he was drafted.
That man of course is Andrew Luck (pictured) and he will be on the field on Sunday. But don’t look for Luck to make any sort of real impact as in typical preseason fashion, he’ll likely play one or two series at the most. The same goes for newly extended receiver TY Hilton, veteran RB Frank Gore and sometime injury-prone WR Andre Johnson among others.
PHI: First Test for New Look Secondary
While Philadelphia may not have to face the staunch offense that Luck, Hilton and Johnson are expected to provide in 2015, the game will still provide a test for the Eagles, specifically their secondary.
It is no secret that the Eagles back line has been one of the worst in the NFL over the past two years. Last year, the team finished as the 31st ranked pass defense and a year prior, they were 32nd. The team has made some pretty sizeable changes since then but this game will be the first time those changes are tested.
The Eagles will look for somewhat of a statement performance from its guys especially against the Colts’ backups. Defense is one of the weakest and most questionable areas for the team. Sunday will prove if they really are improved or if this year could be another disaster. And for the Eagles, who missed the playoffs last year in part because of the defense’s inability to hold the opponents to low scoring outputs, a repeat of last season is the last thing Philadelphia wants.
New Look Running Games could lead to Big Things
Both the Eagles and Colts have undergone some major roster changes this offseason, the biggest of which have come at the running back position.
For the Colts, this meant actually bringing in someone who has proven success running the football. Indianapolis was one of the worst teams in the NFL in the running department, largely because of the inconsistency of Trent Richardson and the untimely injury to Ahmad Bradshaw. But the Colts are hoping those problems are behind them with the addition of Gore and the emergence of a guy who you will see a lot of on Sunday, Daniel ‘Boom’ Herron.
Now in his third season, Herron could be looking to see an increased role in the offense. He’s the sturdiest back behind Gore and given the veteran’s age and mileage, he’ll be a nice compliment in the backfield. He’ll see his fair share of playing time Sunday and through the rest of the preseason.
The Eagles meanwhile, swapped one Pro-Bowl running back for another. LeSean McCoy seemed to sour with Kelly and was traded to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for LB Kiko Alonso. Following this, the Eagles pushed hard to bring in DeMarco Murray, Bradford’s old OU roommate. The Eagles signed Murray but didn’t stop there as they added Ryan Mathews to an already stacked backfield.
Philadelphia has running backs who can catch, ones who can power run for short distances, and ones who run north to south. Ultimately, they could end up being one of the best running games in the NFL with the weapons they have. And given Bradford could still be a wildcard, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a huge focus on running both in the preseason and in the regular season.
Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles Preview’s Betting Picks
Philadelphia enters as four point home favorites in a game that really could go either way. The Eagles are still very much a work in progress, but the Colts will be fielding mainly second string players. Philly has the edge for that reason. Not to mention, the Eagles have a lot to watch for among their roster and no doubt will use the preseason to answer those questions.
Here are our preview’s two betting picks for the game:
- Take the Eagles -4pts on the spread at best odds of -110 with any of Bovada, BetOnline or 5Dimes sportsbooks.
- Also, bet on the two teams to hit the over on the projected 41.5 total points for the game @ best betting odds of -110 with either BetOnline or 5Dimes. For a preseason game, this could be one of the most exciting we’ll see. At the very least, it should be a shoot-out, at least as far as preseason football goes.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.