Two of the league’s best young quarterbacks will meet Sunday. Unfortunately, their time on the field will be limited to pregame (or postgame) handshakes.
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will welcome Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions to Indiana Sunday to kick off each team’s preseason. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET and air on NFL Network. A live stream is available at Watch NFL Network, NFL Game Pass, and the NFL mobile app.
Luck, still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is the most prominent member of his team’s physically unable to play (PUP) list. While his rehab has been going well, the Colts aren’t eager to rush their star back into the lineup. His status for the opening game of the regular season is still up in the air.
Stafford, recovering from an injury of his own, has no such restrictions. The 29-year-old put together one of the finest stretches of his NFL career and emerged as an MVP candidate before a Week 14 finger injury sapped him of his accuracy and sent the Lions into a tailspin. Detroit lost its final four games of the season, leaving 2017 as a mission to right that wrong.
If Stafford plays, it won’t be for long. Backups Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya will likely take most of the snaps.
One player to watch for the Lions is rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Detroit got a major boost to offset Calvin Johnson’s retirement by signing Marvin Jones away from the Bengals, but the team’s receiving corps remains shallow behind him and Golden Tate.
The Lions passed up wideouts with more name recognition to gamble on Golladay in the third round of this year’s draft. To his credit, the young wideout has the stats to run with anyone selected in this year’s event. A former FCS standout, he played two seasons at Northern Illinois and recorded nearly 2,300 receiving yards, 18 touchdowns, and an impressive 14.3 yards per catch. At 6’4 he’s a solid red zone target, but he’s also got the speed (a 4.5-second flat 40-yard dash) to stretch the field and give Stafford another versatile target.
For the Colts, keep an eye on running back Marlon Mack, if a shoulder injury doesn’t keep him out of the game.
Frank Gore is still playing in 2017. In fact, Frank Gore is still a starting running back in 2017. Gore turned back the hands of time to run for more than 1,000 yards last fall, but at 34 years old, he’s bashed through the line and into the twilight of his career.
Enter Mack, a fourth-round pick in 2017 who ran for 1,000 yards or more in each of his three seasons at South Florida. Mack isn’t a surefire prospect, but he’ll have plenty of opportunities to earn a starting role this preseason on a depleted Colts depth chart.
This is the only NFL game on Sunday afternoon, so it’s either this or baseball.
How to watch the Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts preseason matchup
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV: WJBK (Detroit), WXIN (Indianapolis), NFL Network
Announcers: Matt Shepard, Chris Spielman (Detroit); Don Fischer, Rick Venturi (Indianapolis)