Week 1: Colts-Bears matchup

The Sports Xchange

Indianapolis at Chicago

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Soldier Field, Chicago - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 708

*TV announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

*Keys to the game: Andrew Luck played with a veteran's presence in the preseason, but a road opener without a running game could be an eye-opener for the No. 1 overall pick. The Colts managed a meager 2.8 yards per carry and only one run longer than 13 yards during the preseason. Luck established a natural rapport with veteran Reggie Wayne, who moves around the formation in new coordinator Bruce Arians' offense and will find the soft spots in the middle of the Bears' zone defense. Luck isn't risk-averse, but the Colts prefer to keep him out of predictable passing situations with a milquetoast offensive line showing multiple weak spots in August. The Bears don't disguise their intention to run right at teams with Matt Forte and new backup Michael Bush, but will add the threat of doing so from three- and four-wide receiver sets. If the Colts can't slow a power rushing attack without MLB Pat Angerer (knee), they'll need their 3-4 front to make QB Jay Cutler antsy on rollouts and waggles to minimize the big-play threat with big receivers Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery.

*Matchup to watch - Colts LCB Vontae Davis vs. Bears WR Brandon Marshall: Former Dolphins teammates in new places know one another's full arsenal of tricks. Both are eager to establish themselves as star-caliber players and each team's success is dependent on it.

*Player spotlight - Bears LT J'Marcus Webb: He held off a strong push from former first-round pick Chris Williams in training camp and hasn't fully won the endorsement of offensive coordinator Mike Tice. The slope could be slippery for the 6-7, 335-pound Webb facing ROLB Dwight Freeney from a wide set.

*Fast facts: The Colts have six players age 30 or older on the roster. The Bears start five 30-and-older players on their defense alone. ... Marshall has 80-plus catches in five straight seasons. Wayne has 75 or more in the past eight.


The Colts have enough individual talent to be dangerous. If the Bears don't have MLB Brian Urlacher (knee), Andrew Luck will have wider windows to throw through against a defense without another impact player up the middle. The Bears must make their experience and toughness edge count.

*Our pick: Bears 29-17

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