The San Francisco 49ers are deemed to some as the class of NFC if not the NFL, but their Week 3 opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, are not. The obvious favorite to win this match-up in Week 3 is San Francisco. On paper the 49ers are the better team, however, the Colts could make the game interesting if they do not beat the Niners.
This game has the makings of a shootout because of the 49ers’ talent and the potential scheming from the Colts. The 49ers will have to get back to doing what they do best, and that is running the football and making downfield throws to win this game. Offensively the Colts will need schematics to beat San Francisco.
The Colts need to take advantage of nose tackle Ian Williams’ absence and run in straight up the middle. They need to test Glenn Dorsey or whoever will be the starting nose tackle will be early with newly acquired running back Trent Richardson and veteran Ahmad Bradshaw. If they cannot get production from running the game, they should opt to short passes to the running backs to supplement.
All-Pro defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith will be looking to sack second-year quarterback Andrew Luck. For protection purposes the Colts will need to run a lot of two tight end sets and have the tight end chip end rushers Smith and Ahmad Brooks every time. Luck will have to get the ball in and out of his hand quickly but still maintain accuracy. This will begin to open things up for Luck and the Colts to throw the ball down the field to wide receivers T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The way to beat the 49ers in this game is ball control and clock management on offense.
If the Colts are able to execute this plan, this game has the makings of a shootout to which the Colts could pull away with a victory. Both teams need to win this game for the sake of playoff mathematics and seeding.