INDIANAPOLIS — This is a matchup of two teams that underwent a ton of change this offseason, including almost completely new coaching staffs.
This being the halfway mark of the season, how are things looking for the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders? Are the plans that each coach has spoken about coming to light?
- Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4:05 p.m. ET
- Oakland, Calif. (Oakland Coliseum)
- TV — CBS
- Raiders lead, 8-6 (1-1 in the playoffs). Colts have won four of the last five going back to 2004.
- Last game — Week 16 of 2016. Raiders won, 33-25.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Jon Gruden
- OC Greg Olson
- DC Paul Guenther
- STC Rich Bisaccia
KEY NEW FACES
- OG Quenton Nelson
- TE Eric Ebron
- WR Ryan Grant
- RB Nyheim Hines
- DT/DE Denico Autry
- RB Doug Martin
- WR Jordy Nelson/Martavis Bryant/Ryan Switzer
- OT Kolton Miller
- DT Maurice Hurst
- LB Derrick Johnson
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.
- With the coaching change came a switch to a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense.
- From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
- One of those new starters will be at running back. Frank Gore is now on the Miami Dolphins, so a new face will be stepping into the starting tailback spot.
- Nearly 10 years since his last head-coaching gig, Jon Gruden is finally back in the game after spending almost a decade in the broadcasting booth.
- If Gruden wants the job done right, he's going to depend on guys who he knows have gotten the job done before. Oakland brought in a huge veteran presence this offseason. Eleven of the players they brought in are at least 29 years old, and together they average 31.6 years old. Eight of the 11 are over 30, and four of the players are at least 33.
- Oakland added to an already-talented defensive line this offseason when they drafted defensive tackles P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and defensive end Arden Key.
- Like the Colts, the Raiders appear to be getting an almost entirely new linebacking corps. Their new projected starters are Derrick Johnson, Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lemur.
- Veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree was a really dependable player for the Raiders, averaging 77.3 catches for 847.7 yards and 8.3 touchdowns in his three years in Oakland. However, he moved on to the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason.
- Derek Carr And Amari Cooper, The Dynamic Duo? — Injuries and inconsistent play have kept us from seeing a true superstar season from this pair the likes in which they are capable. Can they stay healthy and put up the production that many expect?
- Rashaan Melvin Faces The Colts, Denico Autry Faces The Raiders — Like Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis will be the week prior, former Colts corner Rashaan Melvin will be facing the Colts for the first time since parting from the team this offseason. New Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry will be facing his former team in the Raiders for the first time.
- Midseason Check On Colts Offensive Line — The Colts added rookies Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith and veterans Matt Slauson and Austin Howard to the offensive line this offseason. Who is among the starting five by midseason, and how will they handle Oakland's deep defensive line?
- Midseason Check On Colts New Defense — Most positions on the Colts defense are up for grabs after switching to the 4-3 this offseason. Are the starters gelling, or are there many players starting due to injury? Is the new defense generating pressure with the front four and forcing mistakes in which the secondary is capitalizing?
- Midseason Check On Raiders Veterans — With that many older players on their roster, do the moves appear to be working? Are players getting hurt, or do their best days appear to be behind them?
- Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Raiders CB Gareon Conley/Rashaan Melvin — Melvin is used to going against Hilton in practice with the Colts, but this is the first time since as an opponent. Likewise, how will the young, but talented Conley handle covering Hilton after missing most of his rookie year?
- Colts OT Austin Howard vs. Raiders DE Khalil Mack — If Howard continues his work with the first-team offensive line then he will likely often draw Mack as an assignment. The two were teammates for three years in Oakland, so they've undoubtedly had their battles in practice.
- Colts DE Jabaal Sheard vs. Raiders OT Kolton Miller — Rookie first-round pick Miller has received first-team reps at right tackle during the spring. If he makes it into the season as the starting right tackle then he will likely be matched with veteran pass rusher Sheard. Miller was considered very raw coming out of UCLA, and Sheard was one of the league's most productive pass rushers last year. This could be a strong advantage for the Colts.
- Colts CB Quincy Wilson vs. Raiders WR Amari Cooper — This goes back to the pair's days going against each other in the SEC. Will Wilson be able to smother Cooper, or will the veteran receiver show off his Alabama explosiveness?
- Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (3,098 yards)
- Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (358 yards)
- Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (966 yards)
- Touchdowns — QB Jacoby Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Jack Doyle (4)
- Tackles — LB Antonio Morrison (108 total)
- Sacks — DE Jabaal Sheard (5.5)
- Interceptions — S Malik Hooker (3)
- Passing — QB Derek Carr (3,496 yards)
- Rushing — RB Marshawn Lynch (891 yards)
- Receiving — TE Jared Cook (688 yards)
- Touchdowns — RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Amari Cooper (7)
- Tackles — S Reggie Nelson (89)
- Sacks — DE Khalil Mack (10.5)
- Interceptions — S Reggie Nelson, S Karl Joseph (1)
COMPARING 2017 STATS
- Total offense — 31st (284.8 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 30th (16.4 PPG)
- Passing offense — 30th (180.8 YPG)
- Running offense — 22nd (103.8 YPG)
- Total defense — 30th (367.1 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 30th (25.2 PPG)
- Passing defense — 28th (246.6 YPG)
- Sacks — 31st (25)
- Running defense — 26th (120.4 YPG)
- Time of possession — 22nd (29:41)
- Turnover margin — 13th (+5)
- Total offense — 17th (324.1 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 23rd (18.8 PPG)
- Passing offense — 16th (226.9 YPG)
- Running offense — 25th (97.1 YPG)
- Total defense — 23rd (350.1 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 20th (23.3 PPG)
- Passing defense — 26th (241.1 YPG)
- Sacks — 24th (31)
- Running defense — 12th (108.9 YPG)
- Time of possession — 28th (28:53)
- Turnover margin — 29th (-14)
Other 2018 Colts Season Previews:
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum