The Indianapolis Colts will take the field Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings hoping to restart the rebuilding process that is the 2012 season.
The Vikings are hoping to build on the momentum gained by an overtime win in Week 1.
With two young quarterbacks taking the field on Sunday, anything is possible. Minnesota is still looking for some direction in the defensive secondary.
Last week’s fourth quarter collapse in the final minute against Jacksonville could not have been a surprise for Minnesota fans, who witnessed similar catastrophes throughout the 2011 campaign.
Can another young quarterback shred the Minnesota defense?
Here are my three bold predictions for the game.
With Dwight Freeney on the sidelines, Christian Ponder stays on his feet and will not be sacked in the game.
The Indianapolis Colts were known for two things during the successful Peyton Manning Era: Manning himself and a relentless pass rush.
Freeney and Robert Mathis put fear in the heads of quarterbacks in late game situations when the Colts held a fourth quarter lead. The 2011 season was a down year for the entire Colts' team, and the dynamic duo were no exception. Both Mathis (9.5) and Freeney (8.5) saw a dip in sack numbers from 2010.
Although the Vikings' offensive line has looked shaky early in the 2012 season, the group will improve as they gain experience as a unit. First round draft pick Ryan Kalil is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL, but reps against one of the best pass rushers in the game (Jared Allen) on a weekly basis are bound to help the youngster acclimate to the game.
Andrew Luck outperforms Christian Ponder in his Lucas Oil Stadium debut.
Through one game as a starting NFL quarterback, Luck has the same number of 300-yard passing games as Christian Ponder does (1). I think Luck will add to this total in Week 2 against weak pass defense.
The Vikings allowed Blaine Gabbert to throw for 260 yards and two touchdowns at the Metrodome in Week 1. Gabbert may have improved during the offseason, but not as much as the Minnesota defense made it seem.
Luck performed admirably against a very difficult Chicago Bears defense in Week 1, and I think that is how he will have to perform for the remainder of the season.
The Indianapolis offensive line will be the difference in whether the rookie will reach the 300-yard mark in back-to-back games. If Luck is pressured in the pocket as he was last week, more interceptions could be on the horizon (three against Chicago).
Adrian Peterson will duplicate his performance from Week 1 with two touchdowns.
To see Adrian Peterson on the field at all in Week 1 was impressive, but to rush for 84 yards and two touchdowns exceeded everyone’s expectations. I do not think Peterson is done proving that his knee is fully recovered.
The Colts struggled to contain the pass and the rush against Chicago in Week 1, but historically the running game has been a concern for Indianapolis.
Peterson has played one game against the Colts in his career, but it was a memorable one. In 2008, Peterson ran for 160 yards on 29 carries in a 18-15 loss to Peyton Manning and Co.
This time around Peterson reaches the 100-yard plateau for the first time in 2012 and converts in the red zone with two touchdowns.