The Indianapolis Colts will be without Carson Wentz for at least five weeks … and perhaps for as long as 12 weeks.
Quite the range, huh?
The quarterback’s Indy reign is off to a tough start, as the team announced Monday he’ll undergo surgery after suffering a foot injury. He’ll be out five to 12 weeks, which means he could be back early in the season or could be out until Halloween.
Typically, it’s safe to rule out the most aggressive return time, and Colts coach Frank Reich sounded optimistic about the timeline. For the sake of this exercise, though, let’s just split the difference and say he misses nine weeks. In that scenario, we’ll call a Week 5 return the best-case outcome although perhaps Week 6 might be more likely given the finicky nature of a foot injury.
That’s not great for the Colts. Indy traded a third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder for Wentz to be their new starter. Jacob Eason, Brett Hundley and Sam Ehlinger currently round out the QB depth chart, and that certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence.
The battle becomes even more uphill when you start to look at the schedule and let the betting odds give you a frame of reference as to what Indy faces in the first month of the season.
A look at the 2021 NFL schedule grid based on betting win totals (via FanDuel’s JJ Zachariason) paints a pretty tough picture through the first few weeks for the Colts. Here are the projected win total over/unders for their first five opponents.
Los Angeles Rams: 10.5
Four of those five teams made the playoffs last season. The fifth, Miami, went 10-6 and missed out by one game after losing Week 17 to a Buffalo team with nothing to play for.
The numbers have and continued to change, but if we go back to May when the schedule was released, we can find look-ahead point spreads for every game on the NFL schedule. The Westgate SuperBook in May set these lines for the Colts in the first five games.
vs. Seattle (-3)
vs. Los Angeles (-1.5)
at Tennessee (-1)
at Miami (-1.5)
at Baltimore (+4)
It’s probably safe to assume if the Colts go into the season with Brett Hundley or Jacob Eason under center, they’re not going to be laying points in the first four weeks, especially against NFC West powers like the Seahawks and Rams. That road divisional game in Nashville becomes a lot more difficult, too.
The Colts currently are listed as 28-1 to win the Super Bowl and 14-1 to win the AFC at DraftKings Sportsbook, but the AFC South numbers have been taken down — as have other season-long props like win totals and make/miss playoff props. DK also has removed every Colts game from its season-long individual game spreads.
Losing your starting quarterback before the season is never good, but it’s especially difficult when you’ve got a gauntlet waiting for you in the first month of the campaign.