Sunday NFL football officially kicks off as the Chicago Bears welcome the Indianapolis Colts to Soldier Field.
Heralded rookie quarterback Andrew Luck will make his regular season debut and hopes to improve the Colts 2-14 record from last season. In Indianapolis's four preseason games, Luck went 41-of-66 for 522 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Indianapolis selected quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in 2012, and he makes his pro debut Sunday against the Bears.
Luck will be the ninth rookie quarterback taken No. 1 in the draft to start on opening day, joining Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Alex Smith and the man he replaced in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning. Only Smith walked away with a victory in his very first start.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne led the team with 75 receptions for 970 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, while four-year receiver Austin Collie is a game-time decision as he is recovering from a concussion.
The Colts offensive line will also be down a man, with Joe Reitz out with a knee injury. Seth Olsen replaces him at left guard, protecting Luck from the powerful Bears' pass rush.
Leading that rush is Chicago Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, who the Bears limited during the preseason and training camp for a minor foot injury. Linebacker Brian Urlacher is expected to play, even though he is still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
The Chicago offense will also sport a new look as quarterback Jay Cutler is reunited with wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who the Bears acquired from Miami Dolphins in a trade during the offseason.
Running back Matt Forte will man the Chicago backfield, along with reserve Michael Bush. Forte led the team in rushing last season with 997 yards on 203 carries, despite playing only 12 games.
Indianapolis veteran defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis command the Colts frontline as the team sports a new 3-4 defensive scheme.
The game begins at 1pm eastern time and will be on CBS, or you can watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: Chicago is favored by 10 points
Prediction: Despite is rookie status, all signs point to Luck being well ahead of the curve for rookie quarterbacks. If his offensive line can give him time, he could put up big numbers against a poor Chicago secondary. The Colts defense will be put to the test with Marshall's undeniable speed and size, and could struggle to contain him and Forte.
The contest begins at 1pm eastern time and can be watched the viewer's discretion here.
Predicted Score: Indianapolis 17, Chicago 14
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