INDIANAPOLIS — For the 16th consecutive year, the Indianapolis Colts (2-1) and Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) will square off in their preseason finale.
The Colts will travel east down I-74 this time around as the Bengals attempt to fend them off and complete an undefeated preseason.
- Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. ET
- Cincinnati; Paul Brown Stadium
- TV: WXIN "FOX59" — Greg Rakestraw (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color), Caroline Cann (sideline) | NFL Network re-air at 3:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 1
- To find out what games will be on in your area, check here
- Radio: WFNI "1070 The Fan" | WLHK "HANK FM" — Matt Taylor (play-by-play) and Jim Sorgi (color)
- Colts lead, 17-11 (2-0 in playoffs). In the preseason, the Bengals lead, 16-10.
- Last game — Week 8 of 2017. Bengals won, 24-23.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Marvin Lewis
- OC Bill Lazor
- DC Teryl Austin
- STC Darrin Simmons
KEY NEW FACES
- RB Nyheim Hines/Jordan Wilkins
- WR Ryan Grant/TE Eric Ebron
- OL Quenton Nelson/Braden Smith/Matt Slauson
- DL Denico Autry/Kemoko Turay
- LB Darius Leonard/Najee Goode
- OT Cordy Glenn
- C Billy Price
- LB Preston Brown/Malik Jefferson
- S Jessie Bates III
OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
- The Colts got an almost entirely new coaching staff this offseason, and general manager Chris Ballard went into his second offseason of flipping the roster.
- From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
- With the coaching change came a switch to a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense. The offense should be much more exotic and matchup-based than in years past.
- With all of these changes comes fierce competition in camp for numerous open spots along the roster.
- The Bengals have a new defensive coordinator in Teryl Austin after Paul Guenther left for the Oakland Raiders.
- They brought in a talented rookie class. How much will players like Jessie Bates III, Sam Hubbard, Malik Jefferson, Auden Tate, Mark Walton play with established starters already around them?
Since official pre-game injury updates are not required until the regular season, these are simply players who have been declared to be out indefinitely, for a period of time beyond this game or have missed practice recently.
- DT/DE Denico Autry (ankle), WR K.J. Brent (knee), OT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), TE Darrell Daniels (shoulder), LB Jeremiah George (back), CB Nate Hairston (hamstring), OT Denzelle Good (knee), S T.J. Green (hamstring), LB Darius Leonard (lower leg), DT/DE Tyquan Lewis (foot), QB Andrew Luck (foot), RB Marlon Mack (hamstring), S Ronald Martin (shoulder), LB Anthony Walker (groin), CB Quincy Wilson (hand), WR James Wright (knee)
- QB Andrew Luck suffered a "minor" foot injury last Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers according to head coach Frank Reich. Luck missed practice on Monday and Tuesday. If there was a regular season game this week, Reich said Luck would play. "Obviously Andrew was not out there today, but doing well," Reich said Tuesday. "He will be there at practice on Monday ready to go for next week."
- WR Cody Core
STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH
- The Final Tune-Up — As we went over this week, this is the final audition for players on both teams attempting to make the roster. All 32 NFL teams must cut their rosters from 90 players to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. Almost 1,200 players will be let go this weekend, but many will still have opportunities on their team's practice squad or to sign with another team.
- Last Look At Robert Turbin Until October — The Colts have veteran running back Robert Turbin back from an ankle injury, but Thursday will be the last we see of him for at least a month. He is facing a four-game suspension to start the regular season.
- An Extended Look At Phillip Walker — Speaking to the media Tuesday, Reich said, "Those two guys will split it up. Jacoby (Brissett) will — I don't know exactly. I would say Jacoby maybe a little bit less than a half and then quarter and half, something like that and then Phillip (Walker) the rest of the way." Walker has shown a lot of improvement in this, his second summer in the NFL.
- Colts Right Tackle Competition — One important position that is yet to be settled is that of the starting right tackle. It is up for grabs between seemingly any tackle on the roster aside from left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Denzelle Good, Joe Haeg, Austin Howard, Braden Smith and J'Marcus Webb have seen the most work there this summer while Tyreek Burwell, Le'Raven Clark and Mark Glowinski could also be up for consideration. Good is dealing with a knee injury and will not play Thursday. Haeg will get the start at right tackle against the Bengals while Smith plays right guard.
While I would love to see particular individual matchups, there are certain key players on both sides who we don't know whether or not they'll play Saturday. Therefore, here are some position groups to keep an eye on.
- Colts WRs vs. Bengals CBs — It's a toss-up who will be the Colts' fourth, fifth or even sixth receiver if they choose to keep that many. Reich stated that anyone playing in this game still has a shot at the roster, so this is an opportunity to make a good final impression. Performing well on special teams will also be a factor. K.J. Brent, Krishawn Hogan and James Wright have missed some practice time recently and likely won't play Thursday but have all been in the mix at some point this summer. We are likely to see a healthy mix of Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain, Kasen Williams, Seantavius Jones and Steve Ishmael. The newly-acquired Cobi Hamilton may see some action as well.
- Colts DEs vs. Bengals OL — The defensive end rotation has also been an intriguing group. With it being unlikely that we see Jabaal Sheard or John Simon, it's up to Kemoko Turay, Tarell Basham, Ryan Delaire, Chris McCain and Anthony Johnson to show what they've got, one more time.
- Colts CBs vs. Bengals WRs — Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston have both sat out of practice with injuries this week. With Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore II also rounding out the Colts' main group of corners, who will we see playing corner on Thursday? D.J. White, Chris Milton, Henre' Toliver, Lenzy Pipkins, Robert Jackson, Lashard Durr and Juante Baldwin make up the rest of the group and will be looking to show their chops on special teams as well as against Cincinnati's receivers.
- Head referee: John Parry (19 years). Click here to see all referee assignments for preseason Week 4.
- Favorite: Bengals (-2.5)
- Over/Under: 34.5
- Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (327 yards)
- Rushing — RB Jordan Wilkins (75 yards)
- Receiving — WR Seantavius Jones (75 yards)
- Touchdowns — TE Darrell Daniels, TE Eric Ebron, RB Christine Michael, WR Zach Pascal, WR Chester Rogers (1)
- Tackles — LB Zaire Franklin (18)
- Sacks — DT Hassan Ridgeway (4.0)
- Interceptions — CB Nate Hairston, S George Odum (1)
- Passing — QB Jeff Driskel (334 yards)
- Rushing — RB Tra Carson (72 yards)
- Receiving — WR John Ross (115 yards)
- Touchdowns — WR Tyler Boyd, RB Tra Carson, RB Brian Hill, WR A.J. Green, RB Joe Mixon, WR John Ross, WR Auden Tate (1)
- Tackles — LB Hardy Nickerson (15)
- Sacks — DE Carl Lawson (3.5)
- Interceptions — LB Brandon Bell, CB KeiVarae Russell (1)
PRESEASON TEAM STATS
- Total offense — 21st (299.3 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 14th (20.3 PPG)
- Passing offense — 11th (224.3 YPG)
- Running offense — 27th (75.0 YPG)
- Third down offense — 19th (35%)
- Total defense — 6th (283.7 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 11th (18.0 PPG)
- Passing defense — 5th (166.3 YPG)
- Sacks — 10th (10)
- Running defense — 28th (117.3 YPG)
- Third down defense — 5th (25%)
- Time of possession — 8th (31:05)
- Turnover margin — 11th (+1)
- Total offense — 3rd (381.7 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 6th (25.7 PPG)
- Passing offense — 3rd (293.0 YPG)
- Running offense — 22nd (88.7 YPG)
- Third down offense — 26th (28%)
- Total defense — 25th (338.0 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 9th (17.7 PPG)
- Passing defense — 18th (216.7 YPG)
- Sacks — 4th (12)
- Running defense — 30th (121.3 YPG)
- Third down defense — 16th (35%)
- Time of possession — 22nd (29:01)
- Turnover margin — 21st (-1)
NOTES AND QUOTES
- On Sunday, the Colts made a trade, sending linebacker Antonio Morrison to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for cornerback Lenzy Pipkins.
- On Monday, the Colts signed free agent linebacker Brandon Chubb and waived running back Tion Green.
- On Wednesday, the Bengals waived guard Cory Helms with an injury settlement.
- Reich on the importance of the final preseason game: "Well, one thing in this business that you always find out is one, someone could go into this last game, and sure it's the whole body of work, but sometimes you get down to the last game and a guy flashes on special teams and makes you reconsider."
- Reich on the opportunity ahead for those playing in the finale: "A really good opportunity. Anyone who is playing in this game Thursday night still has a legitimate shot to make this team. Part of the message is last impressions, last opportunities sometimes go a long way. It's funny how you know much like in our culture if you hit it at the right moment, and hit a couple big plays at the right moment that weighs heavily."