Sunday Night Football Week 7 Preview and Prediction: San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sunday Night Football picks for Week 7. San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts predictions from NFL handicapper and expert Ben Gretch.
Ben Gretch
Sat, October 23, 1:10 PM EDT

Sunday Night Football Week 7 Preview and Prediction: San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts

SNF San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, October 24, 2021

Game Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: NBC

  • Key Stat: San Francisco is 23rd in situation-neutral pace, while Indianapolis is 31st. Both teams are negative for the season in Pass Rate Over Expected (PROE). There is expected to be heavy rainfall and sustained wind in Santa Clara on Sunday night. 

Click Here For 49ers vs. Colts  - SNF Odds

San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction

This one feels fairly straightforward as a matchup of two teams who would prefer to run the ball are set to face off in extreme weather conditions. The Santa Clara area will be hit by heavy rainfall and high winds all weekend.

The current hourly forecast seems to have the winds dying down a bit by Sunday night, particularly into the second half of this Sunday Night Football game, and wind speed has a far greater impact on the playing conditions than rain. Still, even after dying down, the wind is expected to stay above 10 miles per hour throughout, and literal inches of rain are expected. It sounds like an absolute downpour as things called “atmospheric river” and “bomb cyclone” hit the West Coast, but I’m certainly not a weatherman.

The relevance of that, though, is both of these teams seem like the types that will lean into it. San Francisco wants to be run-heavy, and they’ll have Jimmy Garoppolo back under center but will likely be without superstar left tackle Trent Williams, who is listed as doubtful. Williams is a fantastic run blocker, but tackles do tend to be even more important to the passing game. San Francisco is also hopeful of getting JaMycal Hasty back from IR, which gives them more depth at running back. I’m expecting the 49ers to lean into their ground game in these conditions.

And the Colts have been leaning into Jonathan Taylor more as they’ve been more competitive in recent games, plus they’re expected to get star interior lineman Quenton Nelson back. Both of these teams are solidly negative for the season in the important offensive metric Pass Rate Over Expected (PROE), which means they tend to lean more toward the run than game situation (down, distance, score, time remaining) would dictate. Both also play slower than average, with situation-neutral time to snap rankings in the bottom 10 in the NFL.

One more note on how this game could be impacted is the Colts have been a defense that is dead last in success rate against the pass, but they rank 10th against the run. So if the elements make it difficult for Jimmy G and company to exploit the Colts’ weakness as a pass defense, it might play into Indianapolis’s hand a bit.

I think this over/under continues to get bet down, and I want to be on the under as soon as possible. Right now, it sits at 43, which still provides solid value, and I’d take it down to 41.5. The weather might also wreak havoc on the kicking game. While both of these rushing offenses can be efficient, and it’s possible we get some explosive plays or some turnovers that create short fields, I’m always interested in being on the under when a game has the potential to be slow and run-heavy, which this one definitely does.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts Pick

Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.
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