Bolt Beat Week 1 staff picks: Can Chargers overcome Luck-less Colts?

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers in action against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers in action against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

It’s time for some predictions. After months of offseason analysis and weeks of preseason talk, we’re talking about football that counts and it’s time to make some picks.

Can the Los Angeles Chargers take out the Indianapolis Colts and get off to a 1-0 start for the first time since 2015? It sure seems that task became more easily attainable when Andrew Luck put a shocking and abrupt close to his career.

But what do the writers here at Bolt Beat think? Here are some predictions about how Sunday’s contest will go down.

Alex Insdorf: The Chargers start the season at home vs. the Colts. A team that’s had somewhat of a turbulent offseason, even more than that of the Chargers. Despite the retirement of Andrew Luck, this team shouldn’t be scoffed at. Jacoby Brissett’s a competent quarterback and the rest of the team is mostly the same with some better offensive line play. The three key factors to watch for are:

1) Chargers’ new running game with Ekeler and Jackson2)Pressure Indy can create on the Chargers’ offensive line3) How Brissett looks in his first outing

I have the Chargers winning the game closer than the spread has it, 27-24.

Tyler Gallagher: Although I expect a strong season for the Bolts, the Chargers have a penchant for losing opening games, and the Colts still have a strong roster without Andrew Luck. The difference in this game is in the trenches. The Colts offensive line has an advantage over the Chargers D-Line, especially on the interior. Even without Jabaal Sheard, the Colts defensive line could stifle the running game and will make Philip Rivers earn every point. Perhaps this game is what the Chargers coaches will need to finally consider shifting around the offensive line to get the best five guys on the field. Colts 21, Chargers 17.

Jack Jankowski: This Colts team will end up better than people are currently giving them credit for, but that’s simply not the case here. Bolts roll as Ekeler scores twice, one on the ground and one through the air. Chargers 24, Colts 7.

Ben Kaplan: The game may start close, with a stingy Colts defense led by Darius Leonard giving all hell to what appears to be a very vulnerable Chargers offensive line. By the second half, however, Rivers and his receivers get it going, while that Colts offense struggles without a star quarterback. Chargers 21, Colts 10.

Jason Bolyard: Pre-Andrew Luck was a scary time, now the worries have died down. At the end of the day, expect the run defense to improve with Thomas Davis on the field, forcing Brissett to air it out. Without Adderley on the field, the Chargers secondary is worrisome at free safety and cornerback, and the Colts will get their points but expect the Chargers to show they have an elite front seven and come out on top comfortably. Offensively, lots of things to watch, particularly the tackles and running backs. Chargers 32, Colts 13.

Tyler Schoon: The Chargers have a depleted offensive line, no franchise running back, and are missing an All-Pro on defense. They have only won one season opener under Tom Telesco, and have lost both Week 1 contests with Anthony Lynn as head coach.

Those things all point to a Colts win…with Andrew Luck under center. But with him gone, the Chargers have a chance to be aggressive on defense and force turnovers. Jacoby Brissett could carry his team to a postseason appearance, but expecting him to be ready to face a talented veteran defense is tough.

The Colts will also be without veteran defensive end Jabaal Sheard, which takes some pressure off of the Chargers’ offensive line.

The Colts will keep this close with a strong rushing attack behind a dominant offensive line, but the Chargers are talented enough on defense to bend but not break often. If they can force the occasional turnover, Philip Rivers can do enough in his first game action of the season to pull out a home win.

Chargers 20, Colts 17.

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Mark Liedahl: Chargers typically sputter out of the gate but I expect them to come out on top at the end of this game. Bosa and Henry NEED to “go off” in this game, respectively. Both are expected to have big years and would benefit from a fast start. Chargers 23, Colts 17.

Brandon Viera: The Bolts will start out slow in this one, possibly letting unexpected starter Jacoby Brissett take the lead early. However, Philip Rivers and the Chargers will quickly realize who the more talented team is, coming back and beating Indianapolis to move to 1-0 on the season. Chargers 21, Colts 17.

Travis Wakeman: In my opponent preview for this game, I saw it as much more competitive at the time. The Chargers will still be focused despite Luck not being there for the Colts but they will be able to keep the Colts from putting too many points on the scoreboard. It will be a slow first half in which the Chargers search for their bearings but they end up opening up in the second half and cruising to victory. Chargers 28, Colts 13,