The Indianapolis Colts welcome the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17, and here is our final game preview and prediction for the AFC matchup.
In Las Vegas last week, the Raiders were able to continue their improbable march towards a playoff berth with a victory over a hated divisional rival in the Denver Broncos. The win was a narrow one, the team’s second nail-biting victory in a row coming off an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs prior.
The Raiders are facing a much more difficult foe in the Indianapolis Colts however. The Colts are 9-6, and still fighting for their divisional crown in the AFC South, as they are only one game back of the leaders in the Tennessee Titans.
Raiders and Colts dealing with COVID issues
The Colts are getting back a number of vital players from the COVID list this week, but will be without one of its top players in quarterback Carson Wentz.
Although the offense is tailored to the talent of the NFL’s leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor, the Colts become even more predictable with the loss of the Wentz this week. The run game was always going to the be the biggest issue for the Raider defense, but now with Wentz out, stacking the box repeatedly will come with less issue as the Colts backup in Sam Ehlinger is not a a threat to torch this secondary.
With Wentz out, the Colts’ passing game, which was already mediocre, now becomes non-existent. This could play a major role in the Raiders upsetting the dangerous Colts.
The return or hopeful return of the Raiders running attack led by Josh Jacobs, was on full display last week as the back ran for over 100-yards for the first time this season. The passing attack which has been dead as of late, will hopefully receive a boost with a possible return of tight end Darren Waller.
However, this game will come down to whoever can run the ball more efficiently.
Both teams may be depleted due to injuries and COVID-19, but the show must go on. The Raiders should be able to control the pace of this game with a more potent running game, and have nearly every man on defense on the line to stop the dangerous back in Johnathan Taylor. I expect a close one, but the Raiders can walk away with victory in this difficult matchup.
Final Score: Raiders 18, Colts 14