NFL PREVIEWS |

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Predictions 09-09-2018


Quarterback Andrew Luck will play in his first regular-season game in almost two years on Sunday when he leads the Indianapolis Colts into their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. "I hesitate in saying the comeback has come full circle," said Luck, who missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. "I just want to go out and play football. I feel really good and I'm really excited. I feel like I'm in great shape, feel like I can make all the throws I need."

The 28-year-old Luck was unable to even throw a regulation football until June but worked his way through the preseason with few hiccups, completing 20-of-32 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in 11 series. The contest also marks the head coaching debut of Frank Reich, who helped guide the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl title before taking over in Indianapolis for the fired Chuck Pagano. As Reich settles into his new role, Marvin Lewis begins his 16th year at the helm for the Bengals, who missed the playoffs for the second straight time in 2017. The teams will be meeting for the second time in 11 days after the Colts won the preseason finale 27-26 on Aug. 30 with reserves getting the bulk of the action.

TV: 1 p.m. CBS. LINE: Colts -3. O/U: 48.5

ABOUT THE BENGALS (2017: 7-9, 3RD IN AFC NORTH): One of the few notable spots up for grab in the preseason finale was the backup quarterback job, but Matt Barkley was taken out of the mix when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. That leaves Jeff Driskel to play behind Andy Dalton, who is coming off a down year but still has talent around him in star wide receiver A.J. Green, emerging talent Joe Mixon at running back and -- potentially -- a healthy Tyler Eifert at tight end. Cincinnati expects big things from a defensive line anchored by six-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins.

ABOUT THE COLTS (2017: 4-12, TIED FOR 3RD IN AFC SOUTH): Indianapolis obviously wants to keep Luck upright as much as possible and it hopes to have veteran left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) active to help provide protection, although Reich has yet to make a decision. "He's been working hard," Reich told the media of Castonzo, who practiced Wednesday for the first time in several weeks. "It's not like physically he hasn't been working hard and getting some field work out there. We are just on a day-to-day basis." The Colts need improvement on the other side of the ball after giving up 25.3 points per game last year, the third-highest total in the league.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Luck threw for 376 yards and a touchdown to lead the Colts to a 26-10 win over the Bengals in the last meeting in Indianapolis, which came in the wild-card round of the 2014 playoffs.

2. Dalton needs 1,616 passing yards to move ahead of Boomer Esiason and into second place on the franchise list.

3. Cincinnati defeated the Colts 24-23 last year at home despite career highs of 12 catches and 121 yards for Indianapolis TE Jack Doyle.

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Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Capacity: 63,000

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Last Injuries

Indianapolis Colts

  • Xavier Rhodes

    Leg
    day-to-day | questionable

    Rhodes was lifted from the last game due to a leg injury, and it is up in the air if he will play Week 3 versus the Jets.

  • Rock Ya-Sin

    Illness
    day-to-day | questionable

    Ya-Sin was absent from the last contest due to the symptoms of an illness, and it is unclear if he will be healthy enough to face the Jets in Week 3.

  • Jack Doyle

    Ankle
    day-to-day | questionable

    Doyle missed the last game managing injuries to his ankle and knee. It remains to be seen if he will be active Week 3 against the Jets.

  • Malik Hooker

    Achilles
    day-to-day | questionable

    Hooker departed the last game due to an Achilles injury, and it has yet to be determined if he will participate Week 3 against the Jets.

  • Dezmon Patmon

    Knee
    day-to-day | questionable

    Patmon has sat the last two games with a knee injury, and it is unknown if it will interfere with his status for Week 3 against the Jets.

  • Parris Campbell

    Knee
    day-to-day | questionable

    Campbell exited the last game with an injured left knee. It is unclear if he will be ready to return to face the Jets in Week 3.

  • Matthew Adams

    Ankle
    day-to-day | questionable

    Adams departed the last game due to an ankle injury and did not return. It as yet to be determined if he will line up against the Jets in Week 3.

  • Justin Houston

    Calf
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Houston is hobbled by a calf injury, and it is up in the air if he will be good to go for Sunday's showdown with the Vikings.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • C.J. Uzomah

    Achilles
    I-R | I-R

    Uzomah has hit the injured reserve list a torn right Achilles.

  • LeShaun Sims

    Personal
    day-to-day | questionable

    Sims has been absent from the lineup during the last two games due to a personal matter, and it is undetermined if he will take the field against the Eagles during Week 3.

  • Shawn Williams

    Calf
    day-to-day | questionable

    Williams has missed the last two games with a calf injury, and it is unclear if he will be available Week 3 against the Eagles.

  • Geno Atkins

    Shoulder
    day-to-day | questionable

    Atkins has sat out the past two games due to a shoulder injury, and it is unknown if he will play against the Eagles in Week 3.

  • Mike Daniels

    Groin
    day-to-day | questionable

    Daniels was held out of the previous game with a groin injury, and it is uncertain if he will suit up Week 3 versus the Eagles.

  • Sam Hubbard

    Knee
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Bullock is dealing with a knee injury, but he is expected to be in Thursday's lineup versus the Browns.

  • Randy Bullock

    Calf
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Bullock was unavailable for the previous game after straining both of his calves, but he is likely to face the Browns on Thursday.

  • Tee Higgins

    Hamstring
    Prob Sun | probable

    Higgins is bothered by a hamstring injury, but it is anticipated that he will face the Chargers on Sunday.