Start Time: Sunday, 21:25
TV: Live on Sky Sports 3
Indianapolis gave the whole league something to talk about this week when they pulled-off the shock signing of acclaimed running-back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns. T-Rich is only just into his second year in the NFL, but gained plenty of admirers during a rookie season in which he ran for 950 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. His arrival in Indianapolis promises to give them a truly threatening running game to go with their already more than useful passing game.
It's unlikely though that Richardson will make much impact so soon after signing. He may well, as the Colts have suggested, suit-up and play some role on Sunday. But without time to study the Colts' playbook, it's tough to imagine him being involved in anything other than the most basic plays.
Indy's form coming into this game is a long way from convincing. A slender 21-17 win over the woeful Raiders may have been excusable, but last week's 24-20 loss to Miami was not. I don't expect Miami to make the play-offs, and if the Colts want to be there then the Dolphins are the sort of team they need to be beating without too much trouble.
Indianapolis have a good offence, especially now, but it doesn't like being put under pressure. Their offensive line isn't the greatest and I suspect it will have a tough time holding off the 49ers. Andrew Luck is a very good quarterback but as we saw in the first week, even the great Aaron Rodgers, playing brilliantly, couldn't do enough to topple San Francisco. Luck is unlikely to play as well as Rodgers did and could spend much of the game throwing the ball away before he eats dirt.
Likewise though, it's hard to be too enthusiastic about the 49ers following their humbling 29-3 defeat at the hands of Seattle last week. After gaining rave reviews for his 412 passing yards in Week One, QB Colin Kaepernick found himself with feet of clay against the Seahawks. When given time to throw and run by the Packers' ambling defence, Kaepernick looked like a god, but when put under intense pressure by the Seahawks, he withered.
Both these sides took big knocks to their confidence last weekend, and I think that will see them adopting more cautious attitudes this time round. Expect the 49ers to pound it hard on the ground through Frank Gore, with Kaepernick looking to add some rushes of his own. The Colts, meanwhile, may find it hard to pass their way through, and might have to result to leaning on debutant Trent Richardson a little more than anyone was expecting.
I'm expecting a tense and nervy encounter, with a few turnovers involved as the defences get on top. Points could be at a premium, especially in the first half, with the 49ers edging away after half time as the Colts are forced to take a few chances.
Back Under 18.5 Indianapolis Points @ 1.95
Back Under 46.5 Total Points @ 1.9520/21