Cleveland -2 at Indianapolis O/U 39.5
The Colts weren’t going to be a very good team with Peyton Manning on the field in 2011. Without him, my power ratings have Indy ranked among the bottom three teams in the NFL. They absolutely deserve to be home underdogs to Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns – who just lost to Cincinnati at home by a double-digit margin – are the better of these two teams. And when a formerly elite team like Indy falls, it can take quite a while for the betting markets to catch up. Simply put, the Colts are worth fading every week until they cover.
Kerry Collins is a familiar name to bettors – he’s been bouncing around the league since the 90’s, and he had some success in a fill in role in his last stop at Tennessee. As we clearly saw last week in Houston, Kerry Collins is no longer a capable fill-in. He’s 39 years old, well past the time when NFL quarterback meltdown into has-beens. He’s forced to run an extremely complex offense – an offense that Peyton Manning went 3-13 in his first year as the starter trying to run – with a month to learn it. Collins was not effective with the Titans last year – there’s a reason Tennessee dumped him to bring in a slightly less tired retread (Matt Hasselbeck) this past offseason. And he was awful last week at Houston and not likely to be significantly improved here.
Quarterback is only one of the myriad of Colts problems. Their offensive line is in complete flux right now. Rookie Anthony Castonzo is starting at left tackle. Left guard Joe Rietz will also be making his second career start this week. Ryan Diem is moving from right tackle to right guard. Undrafted Jeff Linkenbach is moving to right tackle. Indy’s front seven on defense looks awful; their secondary is not much better. The Colts special teams continue to rank at the bottom of the NFL. I’ll happily bet against the Colts in a price range where they need the SU win in order to cover the pointspread.