NFL Preseason Preview - Cincinnati (2-1) at Indianapolis (1-2)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Andrew Luck will get one final tune-up before officially kicking off his NFL career, as the heralded rookie quarterback leads the Indianapolis Colts into battle against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason finale for both teams from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck, the No. 1 overall selection in April's draft, has already appeared to be well-prepared for his regular-season debut as Peyton Manning's successor in the Colts' Sept. 9 matchup at Chicago. Through Indianapolis' first three preseason outings, the former Stanford standout has completed 62.5 percent (40-for-64) of his passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
The 22-year-old prodigy delivered another fine performance in his most recent appearance, though it wasn't enough to have the Colts come out on top of his anticipated bout with fellow rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. Luck threw for 151 yards on 14-of-23 passing and hooked up with young wide receiver T.J. Hilton for a 31-yard score in Saturday's game against Griffin's Washington Redskins, a 30-17 Indianapolis loss.
Hilton, a third-round selection by the Colts in this past draft, finished with 54 yards on four catches in his bid to begin the season as the team's No. 3 receiver. He's currently running behind veterans Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Donnie Avery on the depth chart, though Collie's status for the opener is in question after he suffered a concussion in Indianapolis' previous contest at Pittsburgh.
The rookie may not play in Thursday's tilt after hurting his shoulder against the Redskins, however, with Collie, outside linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder), defensive end Cory Redding (knee), cornerback Jerraud Powers (knee), offensive lineman Mike McGlynn (ankle) and running backs Delone Carter (ribs) and Mewelde Moore (ribs) also candidates to be held out.
Luck and the first-team offense will probably be used for only a handful of plays this week. It's unclear as to whether newly-acquired cornerback Vontae Davis, traded to the Colts by Miami on Sunday in exchange for a 2013 second- round pick, will see any game action.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has said he expects his team's starting offense to play only the first series against the Colts, with third-stringer Zac Robinson likely to handle the bulk of the snaps. Cincinnati will also be sitting a large number of key players for the game, a list that may include running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee), linebackers Rey Maualuga (knee) and Manny Lawson (groin), defensive ends Carlos Dunlap (knee) and Robert Geathers (knee) and center Kyle Cook (foot).
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, one of two first-round selections by the Bengals in the 2012 draft, is questionable to suit up while still making his way back from a knee injury that's sidelined him the entire preseason.
Dalton will be vying to improve off a poor showing in Cincinnati's 27-13 home setback to Green Bay last week in which the second-year signal-caller managed to complete just 5-of-17 passes for 40 yards, though he did rush for a team- high 36 yards on three scrambles.
The Bengals hold a 13-7 lead in their all-time preseason series with Indianapolis, though the Colts ended a string of two straight losses in the set with a 17-13 road decision last year. Cincinnati got a measure of revenge, however, by producing a 27-17 win over Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium during Week 6 of the 2011 regular season.
08/28 14:07:29 ET