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NFL countdown: Colts bet on veteran QB Philip Rivers

This is the 23rd in a series of 32 NFL team betting previews in 32 days leading up to the league’s Sept. 10 season opener. We’ll count down the teams from the lowest season win total to the highest.

The Indianapolis Colts were a playoff team without a playoff-caliber quarterback last season. Now they’re betting on veteran Philip Rivers to fill that role and show he has something left at age 38.

Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Ed Salmons said that’s a good bet.

“Rivers is going from the worst offensive line to the best offensive line, and from the coaching of Anthony Lynn to the coaching of Frank Reich, one of my favorite coaches,” Salmons said. “Rivers will look reborn.”

Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million deal with Indianapolis after spending 16 sometimes sublime and often frustrating seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. He ranks sixth all time in passing yards (59,271) and touchdown passes (397).

Rivers struggled in a 5-11 campaign last season, throwing for 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Salmons said he isn’t concerned.

“Rivers makes some stupid throws at times, but compared to Jacoby Brissett?” he said.

Brissett was forced into the starting role after Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck retired just before the season after a string of injuries. Brissett played well at times, but conservatively. He threw for only 2,942 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Indianapolis started 5-2 but finished 2-7 down the stretch.

Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito notes that Rivers will enjoy familiarity with Reich, who was the offensive coordinator for the Chargers in 2014 and 2015 and was the quarterbacks coach in 2013.

The Colts were primed to compete for the division title and more last season after reaching the divisional playoffs in 2018. Luck’s abrupt departure changed that.

Salmons expects Indianapolis to win the AFC South.

“They’re the class of the division by a lot,” he said. “They had five games they lost last season that they shouldn’t have lost.”

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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