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NFL Indianapolis ColtsSan Francisco 49ers

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers: NFL Week 3 Preview and Prediction

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the first road game of the 2013 season for Indy. Both teams enter the game 1-1 and both are coming off of a loss last week. On paper the game is a bit lopsided in favor of the 49ers, but when you dig deeper into the two games this season the Colts are actually pretty close to San Francisco.

One thing’s for sure, and that’s if the Colts want any chance in this game they have to protect quarterback Andrew Luck much better. The second year quarterback has been sacked seven times already. It’s a big time disappointment after the Colts front office spent a lot of money trying to upgrade the line. With injuries and lack of execution of keeping Luck upright, the Colts are in a bit of trouble.

It’s not going to get any easier this weekend as the 49ers have a very good defense. They rank 14th in total defense giving up 337.5 yards per game. They’ve done a very good job against the pass ranking 10th in the league. The Colts will have to keep an eye on Aldon Smith at all times as he has 3.5 of the 49ers’ six sacks this year.

San Francisco also has very good personnel in the secondary. Although they haven’t picked off many passes yet they do have big play potential to do so. Eric Reid has both of San Fran’s interceptions, but I expect more players to step up.

Expect to see the 49ers run a very similar defensive gameplan to what the Miami Dolphins did to the Colts last week. They will be sending a lot of pressure and playing tight man coverage on the corners. San Francisco has a much better defense and better personnel than Miami, and the Colts couldn’t do much against them which is scary.

On the other side of the ball San Francisco’s offense is similar to the Oakland Raiders, which was Indy’s Week 1 opponent. Indianapolis struggled to keep Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor at check allowing him to be Oakland’s leading rusher gaining over 100 yards. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is very good at eluding pass rushers and scrambling away. He’s already rushed for 109 yards on 16 attempts this year so he could hurt the Colts badly as he’s a better version of Pryor and more accurate.

The rest of the rushing attack has been down for the 49ers as starter Frank Gore has the only rushing touchdown of the year and has a dismal 60 yards on 30 rushes. The Colts rank 29th against the rush allowing 136 yards per game so they must do a better job Sunday.

The Colts’ corners – mainly Greg Toler – must do a better job this weekend or San Fran will have their way on offense. This isn’t a good matchup for Indy at this point of the season.

Obviously the Colts made a blockbuster move this week to bring in running back Trent Richardson, but be patient with that move. It’s not going to make much of a difference this week.

3 Keys for Indianapolis:

-Protect Andrew Luck Better

-Keep Colin Kaepernick in the Pocket

-Limit Turnovers

3 Keys for San Francisco:

-Bring Tons of Pressure on Defense

-Keep Plays Alive by Moving Kaepernick in Pocket

-Establish Better Running Game

Prediction:

San Francisco 38 – Indianapolis 30