The Los Angeles Rams host the Indianapolis Colts at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday in the 2017 season opener, with both teams looking to get back on track after years of setbacks.

Following their mostly AFC dark horse status in recent seasons and with no Super Bowl appearance since 2010, the Colts toiled in mediocrity in 2015 and 2016. The Rams, meanwhile, are seeking their first playoff berth since 2004 and after several forgettable seasons.

The Rams and Colts are longshots to reach the Super Bowl and there have been discouraging signs for both teams. The fortunes for both seem to rest on their best players returning to action. 

For the Colts, it could be a very long season without quarterback Andrew Luck, who will be inactive to start the season while recovering from shoulder surgery. Scott Tolzien gets the nod in Luck's place and he will be facing a Rams defense that finished ninth in the league in passing yards allowed per game (233.2). The 30-year-old has thrown for just two touchdowns in his career to go along with seven interceptions. 

The importance of Luck can't be downplayed. The 27-year-old was exceptional in 2016, throwing for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns to keep Indianapolis in at least contention for the playoffs. The Colts managed just seven points in a home defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the only game Luck didn't start.

Perhaps a bigger problem for the Colts is their defense. Last season, the Colts' pass defense ranked 27th (263 yards per game). But Indianapolis did well in the draft, landing safety Malik Hooker in the first round and cornerback Quincy Wilson in the second.

The big story for the Rams remains the holdout of Aaron Donald. Among the best defensive tackles in the league, Donald is expected to miss the first week of the season and there might be concern he won't be at his best when he returns.

The Rams defense kept them competitive in many games in 2016, so Donald's return is considered crucial to improving on a four-win season.

The Rams' hopes also rest on quarterback Jared Goff living up to the potential he showed when they drafted him No. 1 overall in 2016. The 22-year-old went through growing pains in his rookie season, but now he has head coach Sean McVay, who helped mold Kirk Cousins, and a new trio of talented receivers in Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. 

A bright spot for Los Angeles is the running game and the defense. Todd Gurley is coming off a difficult season in which the offensive line opened up few holes, leading to just a 3.2 yards-per-carry average. The 23-year-old is expected to have a stronger season with the addition of Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth and with another year of experience under his belt.

The last time the Colts and Rams played was in November 2013, when the Rams prevailed, 38-8.

The Week 1 injury report favors Los Angeles, as they have no players listed as unavailable. Indianapolis will not only be without Luck, but also tight end Erik Swoope. Cornerback Vontae Davis is listed as doubtful, while wide receiver Chester Rogers and safety T.J. Green are listed as questionable.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s. 

Line: Rams -3.5 points

Over/Under: 41.5 points

Pick Against The Spread: Rams

Pick On The Over/Under: Under

Prediction: The Rams deserve to be the favorites with Luck inactive and playing at home. The numbers match up well for Los Angeles and McVay and Goff no doubt will want to have a big game to silence detractors who may already be writing off their season.

Tolzien, who has played behind Luck and Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers, has had plenty of time to prepare and should do a serviceable job. Veteran Frank Gore is still a solid rusher and could give the Rams' defensive line fits with Donald out.

But it's doubtful that it will be enough. The Colts' defense doesn't seem like a threat to win the turnover battle and the Rams' offense has enough weapons to make some big plays.