Raiders vs Colts
Photo Credit: Draft Kings

New Game Preview: Raiders vs. Colts – Week 14

FranchiseSportsMedia.com

It took a Hail Mary for the Las Vegas Raiders to beat the worst team in the NFL last Sunday. Now, it’s going to take them a near perfect rest of the season to qualify for a wildcard spot. 

 

Raiders vs Colts
Photo Credit: Sports Chat Palace

It’ll be the first of a three-game home stretch, but the road for an AFC wildcard playoff berth for the Raiders continues with the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday at Allegiant Stadium. The New York Times estimates that the Raiders (7-5) have a 40% chance of making the playoffs as they currently sit in the No. 8 spot, just outside of the 14-team playoffs. 

The Raiders played short-handed last week without key players: running back Josh Jacobs, safety Jonathan Abram and offensive lineman Maurice Hurst. The status of these players as of the publishing of this preview is still questionable.

But rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III started showing off the athleticism he was drafted in the first round for. The former Alabama athlete caught the game-winning touchdown last week from Derek Carr, saving the Raiders from its third straight loss — even more so, preventing Las Vegas from losing to the 0-13 New York Jets.

That 46-yard touchdown catch last week marked Ruggs III’s fourth pass of 40 plus yards. After a slow start, the rookie receiver has caught for 176 yards in the past five games.

 

Defense ignites with Ferell’s reappearance 

 

Raiders vs Colts
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Defensively, Clelin Ferrell’s return was felt in East Rutherford. After falling victim to COVID-19, the former No. 4 overall pick out of Clemson bounced back on the defensive line with two sacks of Sam Darnold in the game.

But now the Raiders are turning their attention to the Colts, and their new quarterback, who the Raiders know too well.

After spending 15 years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is no stranger to the Raiders. But this will be his first time playing in the “Death Star.” Much like Vegas, the Colts are pursuing a playoff spot as well.

Rivers has thrown for 2,638 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Last week, Rivers went 27-35-0-285. He connected with T.Y. Hilton eight times, with 110 yards accounted for.

Indianapolis sits at the top of the AFC South standings, tied with the Tennessee Titans, who hold the tie-breaker over the Colts.  They narrowly escaped Houston with a 26-20 victory over the Texans

After a botched snap on Indy’s two-yard line proved costly for the Texans as linebacker Anthony Walker recovered the fumble to seal the deal for the Colts

The Raiders lead the all-time series against the Colts 9-7. However, the Colts have the better road record in the series at 5-4. The Colts will be entering Sin City sitting at the No. 7 and last AFC postseason slot. However, a Raiders‘ victory will definitely swap places with Indianapolis.

 

Raiders and Colts connections:

 

Raiders guard Denzelle Good was originally drafted by the Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft, appearing in 26 games with 20 starts until joining the Raiders prior to Week 13 of the 2018 season.

Raiders defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins joined the Raiders after spending the 2017 season in Indianapolis, starting all 15 games he appeared in and recording 44 tackles.

Raiders quality control offense coach Tim Berbenich joined the Silver and Black after spending five years with the Colts from 2013-17, serving multiple roles with the organization.

Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable played one season with the Colts in 1987 before beginning his coaching career.

Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent and spent four seasons with Oakland from 2014-17, playing in 56 games and totaling 98 tackles with 10.5 sacks.

Colts safety T.J. Carrie was originally drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft, appearing in 60 games with 37 starts over three seasons (2014-17).

Colts running backs coach Tom Rathman served in the same role with the Raiders from 2007-08 and spent one season playing fullback for the Raiders in 1994.

 

    Key field battle: Henry Ruggs III versus Xavier Rhodes

I would imagine that the best shutdown cornerback the Colts have will be tasked with slowing down Ruggs III, and prevent a repeat of what happened in the final seconds of the Raiders-Jets game. The veteran 30-year-old Rhodes hasn’t been tested much since his two-interception day against the Jets back on Sept. 27. If the matchup does happen, you could see Rhodes playing closer to the line to rattle Ruggs III and throw off his route development after the snap.

The Colts at Raiders matchup will be aired this Sunday at 1:05 PT on CBS. 

 

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Jesus Cano – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: @Juice_Cano

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Raiders vs Colts