Rams vs. Colts: Who has the edge?

RAMS (0-0) vs. COLTS (0-0)

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Where: the Coliseum

Line: Rams by 4

TV/radio: Ch. 2; 710-AM, 100.3-FM, 1330-AM (Spanish)

RAMS OFFENSE vs. COLTS DEFENSE

For all the talk of quarterback Jared Goff and the new-look group of receivers, this matchup returns to a familiar theme: Can the Rams run the ball? If not, it becomes 2016 all over again, as teams load up and dare Goff to throw over the top. Last season, the Colts’ defense allowed an average of 4.7 yards per rush, third worst in the NFL, but the Colts allowed only two runs of 40-plus yards. The Colts are a bit thin at linebacker, even though they run a 3-4 scheme, and they have almost completely remade their defensive personnel under second-year coordinator Ted Monachino. The Rams either need to get running back Todd Gurley going or stretch the Colts’ defense with long throws to Sammy Watkins. Edge: RAMS

COLTS OFFENSE vs. RAMS DEFENSE

This certainly isn’t how Indianapolis wanted to go into the season, without quarterback Andrew Luck and center Ryan Kelly, both of whom are injured. So it’s Scott Tolzien with the start at quarterback for just the second time since the end of the 2013 season. The Colts’ ability to run the ball will depend on Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,025 yards in 2016 but is now 34 years old. The Colts’ best hope is that, without star defensive lineman Aaron Donald, the Rams will struggle to stop the run. Or perhaps the Rams, who held several defensive starters out of the preseason, will be a bit out of sync. But Wade Phillips’ aggressive system should be enough to make Tolzien’s life difficult. Edge: RAMS

SPECIAL TEAMS

Indianapolis was dealt a big, surprising blow when punter Pat McAfee announced his retirement in February at age 30, apparently because of knee problems. The two-time Pro Bowl selection has been replaced by former UCLA standout Jeff Locke. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is still going strong at age 44. Vinatieri made 27 of 31 field-goal attempts in 2016 and all 44 extra-point attempts. There’s no reason to expect a dropoff from Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who last year made his third Pro Bowl, and kicker Greg Zuerlein, who rebounded from a dreadful 2015 and made 19 of 22 field-goal attempts last season. Tavon Austin is expected to return as the Rams’ primary punt returner. Edge: RAMS

COACHING

Eyes around the NFL will glance toward the head-coaching debut of the Rams’ Sean McVay, who has skyrocketed since he coached tight ends in the now-defunct United…

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