Heading into their last week before the bye, the Colts will look to pick up their first win streak of the season. Luckily for them, their opponent is a team whose season has been more dysfunctional than the Colts. The Oakland Raiders, led by mastermind Jon Gruden, are in free fall. Trading Amari Cooper to the Cowboys was a win in my book. However, the Raiders can’t put their first round picks on the field against the Colts on Sunday. If the Colts can leave the Black Hole with a record of 3-5, they will put themselves back in the division race.
WR Ryan Grant (Ankle)
S Malik Hooker (Hip Groin)
TE Erik Swoope (Shoulder)
RB Robert Turbin (Shoulder)
S Clayton Geathers (Concussion/Neck)
RB Marlon Mack (Ankle)
WR Zach Pascal (Head)
DE Jabaal Sheard (Abdomen)
K Adam Vinatieri (Right Groin)
DT/DE Denico Autry (Hamstring)
OT Anthony Castonzo (Hamstring)
TE Jack Doyle (Hip)
WR Dontrelle Inman (Neck)
LB Darius Leonard (Ankle)
CB Arthur Maulet (Hip)
G/T Kelechi Osemele (Knee)
CB Daryl Worley (Ankle)
DE Fadol Brown (Hip)
G/C Jon Feliciano (Ribs)
WR/RS Dwayne Harris (Shoulder
C Rodney Hudson (Ankle)
DE Bruce Irvin (Pectoral)
G Gabe Jackson (Pectoral)
S Karl Joseph (Hamstring)
G/T Denver Kirkland (Illness)
T Kolton Miller (Knee)
WR Seth Roberts (Concussion)
DT Frostee Rucker (Neck)
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Colts’ Edge Rushers vs Raiders’ Offensive Tackles
One of the Colts’ biggest surprises this season has been their effective pass rush. Last season, Jabaal Sheard broke out as a capable edge rusher but the Colts didn’t seem to have much else besides him. The Colts have racked up 21 sacks through seven games. Last season, the Colts ended the season with 25 total sacks. Along with Sheard, rookie edge Kemoko Turay has been developing every week and Margus Hunt has been a revelation.
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The Oakland Raiders are starting two rookie tackles against the Colts. Third-rounder Brandon Parker is playing right tackle and turnstile Kolton Miller is playing on the left. The Raiders are allowing 2.8 sacks per game, which ranks 21st in the NFL. Due to the Raiders’ lack of weapons, Derek Carr won’t be able to rely on his receivers to make plays. Limiting his time in the pocket will be key for a Colt victory.
T.Y. Hilton vs Rashaan Melvin
Last season, Rashaan Melvin broke out at cornerback for the Colts. He had the best season of his career, recording three picks and 13 pass defenses in only 10 games, and earned a contract in Oakland. The Raiders’ secondary has been horrible this season but Melvin has been solid, with one interception and seven pass defenses.
Matching up with Melvin will likely be T.Y. Hilton, who will look to build on how two touchdown day. He provides a different kind of spark for this Colt offense who has yearned for playmakers. Melvin will need to keep Hilton in check if the Raiders’ defense wants any chance to hang.
Spotlight Player: Jack Doyle
For the first time since week two against the Redskins, Jack Doyle will take the field for the Colts. Due to the emergence of Eric Ebron, many may have forgotten how great Doyle has been with Andrew Luck. His run blocking and reliability will provide a big boost for the Colts’ offense and Frank Reich, who loves his tight ends. Playing against a weak Oakland linebacking corps. Doyle has a chance to break out in his first game back.
The Colts tear up Oakland’s defense and help their case for the number one pick.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.