Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers (0–4) vs. Indianapolis Colts (1–3)

After losing in overtime in a tough divisional matchup last week against the Cardinals, perhaps the 49ers finally get it right. They're playing a Colts team that just got destroyed against the Seahawks and is still without its franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck. Still, the 49ers' passing offense continues to sputter under quarterback Brian Hoyer despite solid play from the defense. The 49ers have lost by a combined eight points the last three games.

Key Factors


Rashard Robinson — 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson has been a disappointment a quarter of the way into the season as he adjusts to the 49ers' zone coverage scheme. Per Pro Football Focus, Robinson is at a lowly 36.3 overall grade, which puts him in the bottom spectrum for defensive backs through four weeks. Between his lack of coverage and costly penalties, opposing quarterbacks are testing the second year cornerback. The Colts are ranked 29th in passing yards under backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett but will surely test Robinson against speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Front Seven — While the offense has struggled, the 49ers' defensive front seven continues to shine. The group is coming off a six-sack performance last week and could have another primetime matchup against a struggling Colts offensive line. The 49ers are ranked fifth in pressure rate thanks to defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who has been the team's best player at a 93.2 overall PFF ranking — that's the top grade among interior linemen. Off the edge, Solomon Thomas is improving despite his inconsistencies while Elvis Dumervil is coming off a two-sack performance.

Passing Game — As mentioned earlier, the 49ers' passing offense continues to struggle. Brian Hoyer has only thrown touchdowns in one game as it seems like he is being overly cautious with the football; he had Trent Taylor open for the score in overtime last week but threw it away. The pass protection — rated 10th overall in pass blocking efficiency (80.5)— has been good enough for Hoyer, it's more so the execution of the unit. The 49ers continue to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties and drops as the team struggles to move the chains to the tune of a 30-percent third-down conversion rate. The 49ers' Pierre Garçon should fare much better this week against his former team as the Colts are giving up the fourth most yards through the air. However, be on the lookout for Colts rookie safety Malik Hooker. Hooker leads the league with three interceptions while the 49ers' defense has just two picks combined.

Overall Thoughts


Aside from another horrible Hoyer performance — which is entirely possible — or a breakout game from former 49ers running back Frank Gore, the 49ers have the makings of finally getting it right this Sunday. Brissett can be a tricky matchup as a dual-threat quarterback but I'm confident the 49ers' front seven will continue to generate enough pressure. Hopefully, a heavy dosage of Carlos Hyde will set up a sustainable passing game as I don't expect Hoyer to register 49 passing attempts like he did last week.

The odd makers have this game as an even pick 'em, which leads me to go with the 49ers notching their first win of the season.

49ers PK Under 44
49ers 24 Colts 16