The Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts both debuted new quarterbacks on Sunday, with very different results. Former Lion Matt Stafford had a career day in leading the Rams to a blowout of the Bears. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz was hit 10 times as the Colts offensive line struggled to protect him. Now the two teams meet each other this weekend. Let’s check out the NFL odds for this game.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts both debuted new quarterbacks on Sunday, with very different results. The Rams traded for Detroit’s Matt Stafford, who had a career-best 156.1 passer rating in the Week One blowout of the Bears. The Colts picked up former Eagle Carson Wentz, but it was tough to gauge his performance on Sunday, since he was running for his life much of the day as the Seattle Seahawks hit him 10 times on their way to a 28-16 win.
Stafford Powers Offense
Matt Stafford was at the top of everyone’s quarterback shopping list in the offseason, but the Rams landed him, and based on opening day, the Stafford-Sean McVay pairing appears to be a marriage made in heaven. Stafford was 20-of-26, and his completions included eight passes of 17 yards or more and two over 50 yards. He had 321 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and led the Rams to scores on six of his seven drives, excluding kneel-downs at the end of both halves.
“I loved everything that he did tonight,” McVay raved.
Stafford spread the ball around, hitting six different receivers. He threw a 67-yard touchdown to Van Jefferson on his second pass as a Ram. The running game took a while to develop, but Darrell Henderson came on in the second half to finish with h70 yards. Surprisingly, offseason pickup Sony Michel got just one carry in the game.
The Rams' defense was also solid, getting an interception and a strip-sack fumble. Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams continued to show that they’re one of the top cornerback tandems in the league, and third corner David Long, Jr. got the tipped-ball interception. Long left with an injury, but the team said it was merely cramping. The biggest issue on defense was stopping the run. Chicago’s David Montgomery had 108 yards and averaged 6.8 per carry.
There Wentz the Pass Protection
Carson Wentz didn’t have a bad opening game for the Colts. His final stat line against the Seahawks was respectable—25 of 38 passing for 251 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 102. Still, he had a long day at the office, thanks in large part to the Colts’ offensive line. Wentz was hit 10 times by Seattle defenders. That included three sacks, all of which occurred on third or fourth down, essential ending Indianapolis possessions. He also scrambled three times for 23 yards, showing that his surgically prepared foot is up to snuff.
Coach Frank Reich defending the play of the line, saying, “I'm not ready to just dump this thing and say the offensive line played bad, so forgive me for that.”
The linemen themselves weren’t happy with their performance, however.
“"One of the biggest things is to keep the quarterback safe. We gave away too many hits," center Ryan Kelly said. "That's not our standard of play. … Put it on our shoulders, it's not the standard we hold ourselves to. We'll be better next week.”
The line will have to be better against one of the most feared defenders in the league—the Rams’ Aaron Donald, who will create havoc for Kelly and company in the middle of the line. The Colts also might be without right tackle Braden Smith, who suffered a foot injury in the game. His status is still up in the air for this week.
The Indianapolis defense, which faces the prospect of stopping McVay’s explosive offense, now powered by Matthew Stafford, also wasn’t happy with the opener.
“We got our (butt) kicked,” linebacker Darius Leonard said. “Especially in the first half.”
The Colts gave up 140 rushing yards to Seattle, on more than five yards a carry. Only Tennessee gained more against them on the ground last year. Russell Wilson was also able to find holes in the pass defense, particularly over the middle.
The Rams offense won’t be as good as we saw in Week One, and the Colts' protection won’t be as bad. Still, both teams would have to regress to the mean and beyond to even things up for the Week Two matchup. When making your NFL pick, look for the Colt's blockers to struggle mightily to stop Donald and for the defense to continue to give up big plays against Stafford.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.