INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts (2-5) and Oakland Raiders (1-5) square off this Sunday. There is a lot of noise surrounding both teams right now, but for different reasons.
The Raiders played in London against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, so they got their bye week last week to recover from both the game and a half-day-long flight.
Against Seattle, the Raiders were nearly shutout, 27-3, but as we've seen before, it can be tough to acclimate to that overseas game.
The Seahawks controlled the game from start to finish, scoring 27 points until the Raiders finally got on the board with a field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was battered — sacked six times and hit 10 total — leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an arm injury. The constant pressure led to a very rough outing, as he totaled just 142 yards on 23-of-31 passing and two fumbles lost.
Running back Marshawn Lynch suffered a season-ending groin injury during an awkward tackle attempt. It’s a big loss, considering Lynch was far and away Oakland’s top back and most productive offensive player.
Wide receivers Amari Cooper (who is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys), Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Seth Roberts combined for nine receptions (13 targets) for 55 yards.
On defense, the front seven did not have an answer for a Seattle rushing attack that totaled 155 yards on 37 attempts.
The pass defense wasn’t much better, allowing Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to pass for 222 yards and three touchdowns, although they did sack and intercept him once each.
Along with Lynch, another prime offensive player the Colts won’t have to worry about against the Raiders is Cooper, who was dealt to the Cowboys on Monday in exchange for a 2019 first-round draft pick.
In Lynch’s absence, the onus in the run game primarily falls on Doug Martin as the early-down back and Jalen Richard as the change-of-pace and passing-down back.
On the season, Martin has 27 carries for 99 yards (3.7 avg) and four receptions (five targets) for five yards (1.3 avg). Richard has 11 carries for 32 yards (2.9 avg) and 31 receptions (37 targets) for 253 yards (8.2 avg).
While Cooper was technically the team’s top wideout, he was behind tight end Jared Cook in receptions (22), targets (31) and yards (280). Cooper was also tied with Jordy Nelson in receptions and targets.
Overall, injuries are impacting the Raiders. “The Raiders' offensive line is extremely beat up,” according to ESPN Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez. “Rookie left tackle Kolton Miller has surrendered six sacks over the past two games on a gimpy right knee. Pro Bowl left guard Kelechi Osemele has missed the past two games with a knee injury, and his backup, Jon Feliciano, left the London game with a rib injury. Right tackle Donald Penn is on IR with a groin injury, and rookie Brandon Parker is starting in his place.”
The Oakland defense is also struggling, ranking in the bottom third of the league in pass defense (22nd, 266.7 YPG) and run defense (27th, 131.8 YPG). They also rank last in the league with just seven sacks.
Coming off a huge 32-point win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, this all points to a big opportunity ahead for the Colts.
Indy ran for a season-high 220 yards. Although that led to just 156 passing yards from quarterback Andrew Luck, he still had four touchdown passes and averages 321.5 passing yards and 3.8 touchdowns since Week 4.
The Colts' defense has also played lights-out at times this season, tied for third in the NFL in takeaways (15) and tied for fourth in sacks (21).
Comparing the Raiders and Colts’ résumés, the Colts matchup favorably.
2018 KEY STATS
- 6th in time of possession (32:17)
- 10th in pass offense (281.0 YPG)
- 25th in rush offense (92.5 YPG)
- 27th in red zone offense (45.0%)
- 28th in scoring (18.3 PPG)
- 29th in turnover margin (-5)
- 30th on fourth down (20%)
- 32nd in run plays of 20-plus yards (1)
- Tied fourth in red zone defense at home (44.4%)
- 22nd in pass defense (266.7 YPG), 28th in pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed (28), tied for last in pass plays of 40-plus allowed (7) and 29th in opponent passer rating (106.6)
- Tied for 24th in takeaways (6)
- 26th in total defense (398.5 YPG)
- 27th in run defense (131.8 YPG), 25th in yards per carry allowed (4.7) and 30th in run plays of 40-plus yards allowed (3)
- 29th in scoring defense (29.3 PPG)
- 29th on third down (46%)
- 32nd in sacks (7)