Quality Stats say Colts have the horses to run with 49ers
Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (7-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today.
By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Potentate of Pigskin (@footballfacts)
Indianapolis at San Francisco (-10)
It's amazing what one nationally televised woodshed beating will do to a team's statistical resume this early in the season.
Just ask the San Francisco 49ers, who were humiliated 29-3 in Seattle Sunday night behind a pathetic performance out of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick's 20.0 passer rating (13 of 28, 127 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT) and 28.54 Real Quarterback Rating made it one of the most ineffective QB performances in recent history.
In fact, only two teams in the 299 games since the start of 2012 season posted a lower Offensive Passer Rating, according to our statistical Big Boards at CHFF Insider:
· Cleveland's Brandon Weeden in his NFL debut last season (5.12 passer rating), a 17-16 loss to the Eagles
· Arizona's forgettable tandem of John Skelton and Ryan Lindley (17.31 rating) in the Cards' 58-0 loss last season, also at Seattle.
Only eight teams over that period posted a lower Real Quarterback Rating, our measure at Cold, Hard Football Facts of all aspects of QB play that identifies winners in nearly 90 percent of all NFL games.
The 49ers impressed in Week 1, beating a very good Packers team, 34-28. But right now after two games, they are 24th in scoring offense (37 points) and 27th in scoring defense (57 points).
The Colts, meanwhile, head to the City by the Bay for their first road game of the season after a four-point win over the Raiders and four-point loss to the Dolphins.
Indy last year punched above its statistical weight class, winning 11 games despite the statistical profile of a six- or seven-win team. Young QB Andrew Luck pulled out a lot of late heroics, but posted merely humble numbers. In fact, he was the most inaccurate starting QB in the NFL last year (54.1%).
He and the Colts look much more efficient in the all-important passing game early here in 2013: 65.2 percent completions, 3 TD, 1 INT and a top-10 96.7 passer rating, statistical light years ahead of the 76.5 rating he pitched in 2012.
The Colts also picked up second-year RB Trent Richardson from Cleveland in a surprising Wednesday trade. Richardson set the Browns rookie rushing record last year, while catching 51 passes and racking up 12 total touchdowns (11 on the ground). He'll fill the hole left by the loss of injured running back Vick Ballard, who led the Colts in rushing last year.
Richardson looks like he'll provide additional firepower to the Indy offense long term. His readiness for Sunday in a new offense and his potential impact on the game remain in question right now.
The 49ers are still the superior team, regardless of what happened in Seattle last week. But not so superior to count on a double-digit victory, which is a big number in the NFL against a playoff-caliber team.
The Colts were a terrible road team last year, winning only at Tennessee, Jacksonville and Chiefs, three of the worst teams in football. They were blown out at Chicago, N.Y. Jets, New England, Houston and Baltimore.
But the Colts already look more stout this year, and top Offensive Rusher Rating through two weeks. That's right: Indy is the most effective rushing team in football, even before the addition of Richardson.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are 29th in Defensive Rusher Rating. The Colts may be able to grind out some success on the ground – if they can keep the score close.
San Francisco has blown out a lot of teams at home in recent years. But the Colts will be good enough this time around to keep it competitive.
Pick: San Francisco 28, Indianapolis 21
Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays, inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today.