The Colts can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Raiders on Sunday. They are still in wait-and-see mode when it comes to the status of quarterback Carson Wentz, who remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Even with the likelihood of being activated on Saturday, Wentz still has to clear the league’s protocol on Sunday morning in order to play.
That said, the majority of players have returned from the COVID-19 list throughout the week.
Here’s how the Colts Wire staff sees this game shaking out in Week 17:
Kevin Hickey: Colts 23, Raiders 17
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There is a big question mark when it comes to the status of Wentz but the Colts still have a shot to win even if he can’t go. The reason for that is Jonathan Taylor and a defense that has stepped up big time this season.
While the Raiders are 10th in DVOA run defense, the Colts have the majority of their starting offensive line back. Meanwhile, Taylor has averaged 143.4 yards from scrimmage since Week 4 while the Raiders have allowed the fifth-most rushing touchdowns (14) and third-most receiving touchdowns (6) to running backs this season.
The Colts will have to play their part on defense as well. The pass rush has to make Derek Carr uncomfortable while Grover Stewart and the linebackers must force the Raiders to be one-dimensional by stopping Josh Jacobs.
All in all, the Colts should win this game. Anything can happen in the NFL but with the way they have been playing and with the way this game matches up between the strengths of both teams, the Colts should clinch a playoff berth on Sunday.
Follow Kevin on Twitter (@KevinHickey11)
Cody Manning: Colts 28, Raiders 21
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The Indianapolis Colts have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders so I expect they will put their best foot forward to get the job done.
Las Vegas has had their struggles against the run so Jonathan Taylor will be leaned on to see if he can repeat what he did last year when the two teams faced. He had 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie pass rushers Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo have themselves a performance. The two young cats harass Derek Carr all day and help force a turnover or two.
The Colts just steadily dominate all four quarters and pull away late for the win. Indianapolis beats Vegas 28-21 to lock up a spot in the postseason.
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John Alfieri: Colts 30, Raiders 24
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With Carson Wentz’s status still unknown, this game could be closer than most analysts predict. While Jonathan Taylor is the obvious leader of this offense, Wentz provides a key element to the Colts passing game that has come alive in recent weeks.
The Raiders may also be without their stud tight end Darren Waller due to COVID-19 concerns. That would be a huge blow to this Raiders offense that has heavily relied on Hunter Renfrow this season to be their leading receiver. Kenny Moore should be able to limit his production and force Carr to throw the ball elsewhere.
Having Darius Leonard back will be huge for this defense that played exceptionally well last week short-handed in Arizona. It should be tough sledding for Josh Jacobs who has taken a step back in 2021.
In the end I think the Colts win this game with or without Carson Wentz under center. Not that Sam Ehlinger is an upgrade, but if Indy only needed 57 passing yards to beat the Patriots, then it’s safe to say the quarterback is not the centerpiece of this offense.
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1. John (11-4)
2. Cody (11-4)
3. Kevin (11-4)
4. Nick (8-5)