Luck missed more than half the 2015 season with various injuries and the Colts managed just eight wins in each of the last two campaigns.
How many times will Andrew Luck be sacked during 2017-18 NFL regular season?
Over 32.5 ( -160 )
Under 32.5 ( +130 )
The one thing that may keep the sack total below the number is Luck’s ability to stay on the field. He played in just seven games during the 2015 season and was sacked 15 times. But when Luck is on the field he’s a target of every defensive lineman.
Luck was taken down 41 times last season, matching the most times he’s been sacked in his career, and he missed one contest due to a concussion. Luck was brought down 31 times in the first eight games of 2016 and took some of the blame for the high number.
Not wanting to throw his underachieving offensive line under the bus, Luck said he was holding onto the football too long while waiting for plays to develop and that he needed to recalibrate his internal clock. Always cerebral, he did attend Stanford after all, Luck knows better than to criticize the guys who are working to keep him upright.
The Colts did very little to upgrade the offensive line after several years of regression. In 2014 the Colts surrendered 29 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL. The next year they allowed 37 sacks and jumped to 15th. Last season the Colts gave up 44 sacks and climbed all the way to the fifth-highest total.
GM Ryan Grigson didn’t address the decline in the draft and that’s why he’s now the former GM. And we haven’t seen any significant upgrades to the unit during the recent draft and free agency. So that means Luck will face the music behind the same line that that gave him internal injuries two years ago and the same unit that forced him out of a game due to a head injury last season.
We can’t lay all the blame on the offensive line. There are other factors that led to those elevated sack totals. Luck said he is partially responsible and has worked on his timing and footwork. Chuck Pagano has also pleaded with Luck to end plays when nothing happens, instead of prolonging the inevitable. And an improved running game will alleviate some of the pressure. The Colts ranked 23rd last season and opposing defenses keyed on Luck.
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Players and people in general are creatures of habit. It will be hard for Luck to change his style at this point in his career. He’s a guy that has a hard time accepting failure and if he can get something out of nothing he’s going to try his damndest.
However, for this particular prop bet it’s about how well the line can protect Luck. They did an awful job last season, surrendering a total of 44 sacks with Luck taken down 41 times. There were uplifting moments during the 2016 season. After Luck returned from missing his only game, he was sacked just twice in four contests.
He threw 45 passes against the Texans and was sacked only once. But the season finale produced four sacks to a Jacksonville defense that wasn’t very good. The draft offered little in terms of offensive linemen and the Colts weren’t going to overpay in free agency, so they are stuck with a group that hasn’t been very effective.
The team did sign backup Brian Schwenke and drafted mammoth Zach Banner in the fourth-round, but those two additions aren’t going to shift the playing field. If Luck is able to play a majority of games and not get too beat up, the over, though steep at -160, is a good bet.
NFL Prediction: Andrew Luck Over 32.5 Sacks