I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the Colts do not match up well with the wildly inconsistent Oakland Raiders.
The main thing that concerns me is their defense and their bump and run man to man coverage schemes. Generally Oakland plays very simple defenses that reflect the style that Al Davis coached back in the 1960's. The cornerbacks are up in the receiver's faces and the strong safety is up closer to the line. The free safety is back in a single high coverage.
It is critical against this sort of defense for your wide receivers to be able to beat the bump at the snap and to get separation. Often the timing of the pass play can be severely disrupted if the receivers cannot get free quickly.
If a good quarterback has time to let the play develop, big plays can be there. But we have not had a single game this season where we have been able to provide Manning a clean pocket throughout the game.
Expect our offensive line to have a lot of trouble against Oakland's big and talented front four. I don't expect us to be able to run the ball at all - despite our improvement against Jacksonville.
The critical player this week is Pierre Garcon. He has shown in the past that he is capable of winning one on one physical match ups and he is our most explosive receiver. Reggie Wayne will have Nnamdi Asomugha in his face all day and may be taken out of the game. Blair White will be at a disadvantage with his relatively small frame - look for him to be roughed up a bit in the slot.
The match-up for us on defense is not much better. The Raiders feature a power running game with a play action passing game feeding off of that. Our front seven will be tested all game by tackle to tackle runs.
I feel that the Colts only hope in this game is getting ahead early, forcing the Raiders to pass the ball.
This could be a ugly and depressing game.
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