The Indianapolis Colts (2-5) travel west to take on Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders (1-5) Sunday at 4:05 PM ET.
The Colts and Raiders are two teams that should be a lot better than they currently are. Both teams are currently under re-build with new leadership. In the Raiders case, it is head coach Jon Gruden‘s first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract. Sheesh.
Oakland has made some pretty surprising roster turnovers this year, including trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for a combined four first round picks. Gruden is clearly willing to take a few step backs now to win in the future.
However, for now, the Raiders are possibly the least talented team in football right now.
Oakland players to watch for on Sunday:
RB Jalen Richard.
With Marshawn Lynch on IR, Oakland will heavily rely on running back Jalen Richard to carry the workload. Richard is especially dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield for the Raiders. He is the second leading receiver on his team in terms of total receptions, and third in total receiving yards – not bad for a running back. Look for a bulk of Oakland’s offensive plays to be in the hands of the 25 year old Richard.
DE Arden Key
The Raiders defense has been putrid this season. However, if there is one bright spot in that black hole, it has been the young defensive linemen – especially rookie edge rusher Arden Key. Key was projected to be a first round pick in this year’s draft, but fell to the third round due to some apparent off-the-field issues. Key has been performing at a high level in terms of pass rush and stopping the run. Watch for Arden Key to wreak havoc in the backfield on Sunday.
Match up to watch for on Sunday:
The aforementioned Arden Key will likely be lining up against the right tackle Braden Smith for the majority of the game. The match up here will be fun to watch as two young players look to solidify their respective roles in their first year. Smith, who is only starting his fourth game at tackle after being drafted as a guard, looks to continue his strong performance. Key, who as mentioned before is filling the void left by Khalil Mack, looks to solidify his role as the franchise pass rusher. This match up is interesting, but also is a huge part of Sunday’s game. The Colts need to keep Andrew Luck‘s pocket clean and open up holes for the run game.
The Raiders are coming off a bye, so they had the opportunity to rest up. However, guard Kelechi Osemele still has not practiced and likely will not play. Rookie tackle Kolton Miller and center Rodney Hudson are both on the injury report, so the offensive line is still hurting after their bye.
The Colts have quite a few players on the injury report as well, including former Raider defensive end Jihad Ward, who was just placed on IR Friday. Kicker Adam Vinatieri has been limited with a groin injury. All in all, eight players did not practice Thursday, including Marlon Mack, who is questionable to play with an ankle injury.