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NFL 2017 Week 5: San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts preview and prediction

This interconference game in Indianapolis features two teams with a single win between them so far this season.


In a heartbreaker of a loss, the 49ers scored first in overtime only to watch as the Cardinals came back with a game-winning touchdown pass, sending San Francisco to an 18-15 defeat and dropping them to 0-4. The Niners put together a 7 1/2-minute drive after receiving the overtime kickoff, only to settle for Robbie Gould’s fifth touchdown of the game. On the ensuing possession, Arizona drove down and won it with under a minute to play when Carson Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone from 19 yards out.

A Colts upset bid ended in a blowout when Seattle scored four unanswered second-half touchdowns on the way to a 46-18 victory over Indianapolis, which fell to 1-3 with the loss. The Colts tied the game at 18-18 in the third quarter before the Seattle onslaught of big-play scores. The Colts had taken a 15-10 halftime lead on two consecutive touchdowns: A one-yard run by Robert Turbin and a Donte Moncrief touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett. The Colts did manage three sacks and two interceptions of Russell Wilson.

End zone drought

The loss to Arizona highlighted one of the big problems so far this season for San Fran, as they managed five field goals but no touchdowns. That makes 11 field goals to just five end zone trips so far this year. The Niners have moved the ball effectively at times with the running of Carlos Hyde and the short passing of Brian Hoyer, but things keep bogging down in the red zone. They haven’t faced a defense as yielding as the Colts though.

New old kid on the block

Not many people noticed when the Niners picked up veteran Elvis Dumervil in the offseason. But Carson Palmer noticed when Dumervil dumped him for sacks twice last week. Add in the pressure DeForrest Buckner puts on up the middle, and San Francsico could start to apply more heat to opposing quarterbacks. That means that Jacoby Brissett has to be on guard and ready to scramble if things collapse.

Passing fancy

Most people expected the 49ers to rely on the short passing game, so the relatively low yards per attempt put up by Hoyer so far isn’t that surprising. But Hoyer completing less than 60 percent of his passes in Kyle Shanahan’s offense just isn’t going to cut it for very long. The 0-4 start only intensifies the demand from fans to see what rookie C.J. Beathard has under center. Hoyer has a good chance against a shaky Colts secondary to put up good stats. If he doesn’t, he might be headed to the bench.

Matchup to Watch: Colts WR TY Hilton vs 49ers DB Dontae Johnson

The Niners secondary is inexperienced and learning on the fly, with Johnson only becoming a starter recently. Hilton had a breakout game two weeks ago against Cleveland but got bottled up last week by Richard Sherman and the Seahawks tough secondary last week. It gets easier for Hilton again against the Niners, and the Colts will look to run their passing game through him.

Fantasy Football Tip: Colts WR Donte Moncrief

You know the drill with Moncrief. He’s not going to get you much outside of a touchdown. But here he is in a game against a team that yields their share of yardage and scores through the air. Plus, because of Hilton’s presence, Moncrief will always get the weaker corner in the secondary. He’s worth a shot in DFS this Sunday.

Betting Tip

The Colts are giving a point-and-a-half to the Niners. The game is in Indy, so the home team gets the edge in a game where not much separates the two teams.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 17-19 Indianapolis Colts

Look for the Niners to suffer another heartbreaking loss, while the Colts get closer to .500 with Andrew Luck’s return finally on the horizon.

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Jim Beviglia

Jim is a freelance writer concentrating on music and sports. He is the author of four books and writes for several online and print publications. He lives in Old Forge, Pennsylvania with his wife Marie and his daughter Daniele.

NFL 2017 Week 5: San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts preview and prediction

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