coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
On 09/02/2013 10:32 AM in NFL

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts: Preview and Pick

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts: Preview and Pick

The National Football League will kick off the 2013 season with a very interesting game featuring the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts. The Raiders are attempting to build up a once proud franchise that has fallen on hard times. Perhaps they can take a cue from the Colts who rebuilt their franchise with one player, Andrew Luck.

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts Odds

The Raiders are predicted to be one of the worst teams in the league this season and the odds makers have taken notice. The Colts were opened up at (-6.5) point favorites at home over the Silver and Black, but the public pounced on that number after watching the Raiders flounder in the preseason. Now this number can be found as high as (-10) at several top rated online sportsbooks.

A year ago rookie quarterback Andrew Luck lived up to the hype as he led the Colts to the playoffs after taking over for Peyton Manning. Luck is already a proven leader on the field and he is making players like TY Hilton household names. While the Colts are very stable at quarterback, the Raiders are anything but.

The Raiders signed Matt Flynn in the offseason to attempt to stabilize the quarterback spot after the Carson Palmer experiment failed. Flynn has been under attack all preseason due to a weak offensive line and as the season starts he is not at 100 percent. Terrelle Pryor took advantage of this by looking good in the preseason. His mobility gives the Raiders another option under center and it looks like he will be named the starter of the game against the Colts.

The NFL betting trends for this game come as no surprise as they highlight the weaknesses of the Raiders. The Raiders are 2-8 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 games on field turf, 4-9 ATS in the last 13 games against the AFC, and 2-6 ATS in the last eight games in week one of the season. The Colts are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 games against the AFC, 6-0 ATS in the last six home games and 9-3 ATS in the last 12 games overall.

The Raiders still have a long way to go before they can return to the glory that they have found in the past, but it would happen quicker if they could upset the Colts. The Colts are going to make sure that does not happen.

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
09/03/2013 02:55 PM

For Terrelle Pryor, it's the culmination of a bumpy road. For Matt Flynn, it's deja vu all over again. The Oakland Raiders have named Pryor the team's Week 1 starting quarterback according to multiple sources.

Pryor, the Raiders' third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft, took the first snap with the first-team offense during a drill in the portion of practice open to the media Monday. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Monday afternoon that he would refrain from announcing a starter for "competitive" reasons.

The offense produced 32 points on 14 drives with Pryor at quarterback, compared to 10 points on 13 drives this preseason for Flynn. Flynn played mostly with and against starters, whereas Pryor was in mostly with second-team players. Flynn, a six-year veteran, will serve as the team's backup, according to reports, a position he's familiar with.

Flynn has started only one game since the start of the 2011 season, a 31-of-44 performance in which he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns and one interception while starting for the Green Bay Packers in place of Aaron Rodgers. On the strength of that game, Flynn earned a contract from the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season, but he lost out on the starting job in the preseason to then-rookie Russell Wilson.

The emergence of Wilson made Flynn expendable and the Seahawks dealt him to Oakland, where again he was presumed to be the team's Week 1 starter -- at least until Monday night

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
09/04/2013 03:10 PM

The Oakland Raiders will start the NFL season with a tough opponent when they visit the Lucas Oil Stadium to play the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Sept. 8.


The Colts’ Offense
The Indy team has a nice set for their offense. Quarterback Andrew Luck had a good season last year as a rookie. A lot was riding on him as he tried to fill Peyton Manning’s shoes, but the kid held out and took the team to the playoffs. But even more is expected of Luck this year. The Colts will most likely try the passing game, which is the game that Peyton settled in Indy. However, the Raiders are still working on stopping the run, so expect to see a nice dosage of Ahmad Bradshaw, who had some success with the New York Giants before coming to Indy.

The Colts’ Defense
Indianapolis did not look great in the first week of the preseason against the Bills and allowed 44 points. For weeks 2 and 3, Indy picked up and only allowed 12 points against the Giants and 6 points against the Browns, who were undefeated until that point. Both the Giants and Browns were scoring high until they met the Colts.

Coach Joe Pagano, who was hired to overhaul Indy’s defense for the 2013 season, is expected to improve the team, but so far, the Colts defense has been average.

Key Players
Quarterback Andrew Luck is the key player to watch. The kid has an arm and had a good report for the 2013 preseason. The matchup with the Raiders shall be interesting as the Silver-and-Black has a new set of cornerbacks to help soften the Luck threat. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will be another threat, since the he used to play for Oakland. Heyward-Bey would love to take down his old team! The other threat is veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne. This guy has the moves and did well right of the bat with QB Andrew Luck in the first year they played together.

How to Shut Down the Colts’ Key Players
Andrew Luck will face the new, revamped Raiders secondary defense. Veteran Charles Woodson, who came back to the Raiders after playing with the Packers, should provide nice passing coverage. Also, rookie DJ Hayden, who has had a nice preseason, should provide good coverage with his ire to be great in the sport. The same goes for Reggie Wayne, who will be facing a new Oakland secondary. Cornerback Tracy Porter will also be helping in the back, which should make things difficult for Wayne. As for Darrius Heyward-Bey, well, the Raiders know the way he plays, so it should be interesting to see him try to defeat a team that knows his every move.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
09/05/2013 02:00 PM

The list of teams that recorded fewer than the Indianapolis Colts’ 32 sacks in 2012 reads like a roll call of the NFL’s worst: Chiefs (2-14), Jets (6-10), Raiders (4-12) and Jaguars (2-14). That’s not the kind of company any team with intentions of making the postseason wants to keep.

Now, consider the fact that Dwight Freeney, with his team-record 107.5 career sacks, signed with the San Diego Chargers. It then becomes clear that one of this season’s fundamental questions is how, exactly, will the Colts generate a pass rush?

The answer is twofold.
• The Colts feel some of the unknown commodities who will be relied upon to generate heat on quarterbacks will surpass outsiders’ modest expectations.
• They’re going to, at times, use an assortment of creative and aggressive blitzes that will increase their chances of getting to opposing passers.

The first test comes Sunday against the Raiders in the regular-season opener. “I know what they can do,” veteran Robert Mathis said of his largely unproven fellow pass rushers. Mathis has 91.5 career sacks, more than even the wildest dreams of fellow edge rushers Bjoern Werner (0), Cam Johnson (0), Mario Harvey (0) and Erik Walden (9).

Personnel on the defensive front who are better suited to coach Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 defense — Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin specifically — will help. But the Colts are betting rather heavily on players with thin resumes. Which is fine, they say.

“I’ve been working with them since April and I know they can get the job done,” Mathis said. “As for outside (opinions), it doesn’t matter. They didn’t pick these guys, so it doesn’t matter. They’re here for a reason, and we believe they can get the job done.”

Pagano added: “We feel good about all those guys.”

Walden, acquired as a free agent from the Packers in the offseason, didn’t hide from the obvious. “When you take away what Freeney was able to produce, which is 100-plus sacks, you have to (replace) that from somewhere,” said Walden, who will wear Freeney’s number, 93. “And it has to be in the sack category. I hold myself to a high standard so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

In the NFL, pure ability is a pass rusher’s best friend. But scheme can make a difference. And that’s where Pagano and company are going to do their part.

The Colts, according to analytic experts at Profootballfocus.com, blitzed on 42.3 percent of opportunities in 2012 — much higher than the NFL average of 31.6. Pagano isn’t hiding from the fact that they’re going to do it again.

“We stayed pretty vanilla throughout the course of preseason,” he said. “You rush three and you rush four. We’re probably like everybody else where you don’t show a whole lot and so we’ve got a lot of things that we can do to generate pass-rush in a lot of different ways, like most people. I feel good about it and the plan will be a little bit more creative, if you will, going into this first one. We got guys that can get after it.”

Last season, the Colts, at times, blitzed relentlessly. According to the football focus website, they blitzed on 24 of 48 opportunities (50 percent) against the Packers in Week 5 and 22 of 47 (46.8 percent) against the Lions in Week 13.

The open-minded approach to bringing heat will continue in 2013.

“We feel like we have a lot more freedom,” Mathis said. “Guys are able to put themselves in position. If we need to get a guy free (to rush), we’ll get him free. We’ll do what we need to do to get your quarterback. And once you hit the quarterback, it does build confidence. And it’s addictive. You want to keep hitting him and getting to him.”

Which is good, because the Colts could use some of that against a schedule of quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub. And in the bigger picture, the defense will be largely responsible in determining whether the Colts can go a step further this year.

The pass rush is biggest question facing the unit. “With the explosive offense we have, on defense we want to continue to come together, stop the run, get off the field on third down and create turnovers,” Walden said. “I think we have a chance to be in the top five.”

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
09/06/2013 01:53 PM

Five storylines surrounding Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts-Oakland Raiders game at Lucas Oil Stadium:

Read all about it
The read option is the latest offensive craze sweeping the NFL, and the Colts’ defense gets an opportunity to warm up to it Sunday when QB Terrelle Pryor and Oakland visit. The Raiders aren’t as read option-driven as two future opponents — San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick and Seattle with Russell Wilson — but they have those type of plays for their mobile QB.

And why not? Pryor is 6-6, 230 pounds and a serious threat to do damage with his legs if the Colts allow him to get to the perimeter. In four career games, he’s rushed 10 times for 50 yards and one TD. In 35 games at Ohio State, Pryor rushed for 2,164 yards and 17 TDs.

RB Darren McFadden remains the linchpin of the Raiders’ running attack, but it would behoove the Colts to keep track of Pryor and make him do damage with his arm, not his legs.


Introductions necessary
Despite his team finishing 11-5 and earning an AFC wild-card spot in 2012, Colts GM Ryan Grigson spent another offseason taking a jackhammer to the roster. Nineteen of the 53 players on the active roster are with the team for the first time. Nine are in the starting lineup: LG Donald Thomas, RT Gosder Cherilus, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, FB Stanley Havili, NT Aubrayo Franklin, DT Ricky Jean Francois, SLB Erik Walden, Toler, S LaRon Landry.

The Raiders aren’t impressed. Roughly half the team — 26 of 53 players — are first-timers with the organization. The depth chart features four new starters on offense, a staggering nine on defense. The only defensive front-line returnees are end Lamarr Houston and safety Tyvon Branch. The massive overhaul in Raiderland is understandable. Oakland is coming off a 4-12 season and hasn’t had a winning record since 2002.


Gone, not forgotten
Paraphrasing former Colts president Bill Polian, the NFL’s salary cap doesn’t forget or forgive. When players with existing contracts are cut, the remaining prorated bonuses already paid shows up against a team’s cap as “dead money.’’

This season the Raiders are paying the price for past personnel mistakes or contracts that no longer made sense to retain. They’re counting approximately $50.3 million in dead money against their adjusted cap of $127.2 million, according to Spotrac.com. That’s 39.6 percent of their personnel budget for personnel no longer with team. Still counting against the ’13 cap are DE Richard Seymour ($13.7 million), QB Carson Palmer ($9.34 million), LB Rolando McClain ($7.26 million), DT Tommy Kelly ($6.324 million) and Heyward-Bey ($5.26 million).

Yes, DHB still is having an impact in Oakland.

“You’re trying to do everything you can to improve your football team so you can sustain success in the league throughout the years,” coach Dennis Allen said of Oakland’s offseason roster purge.

The Colts are carrying about $8.65 million in dead money against this year’s cap, but were in the Raiders’ shoes last year when their salary-cap budget was weighed down by $38.488 million in dead money.


How much Hilton?
It will interesting to monitor the workload for WR/PR T.Y. Hilton. Last year’s third-round pick is a legitimate game changer after averaging 43.4 yards on his team-high eight touchdowns. That included a 75-yard punt return against Buffalo.

Despite Hilton’s home-run ability, he’s a bantamweight by NFL standards and the smallest Colt: 5-9, 178 pounds. It figures to be a delicate balancing act of maximizing Hilton’s skills while not wearing him down.

Coordinator Pep Hamilton is going with Reggie Wayne and DHB as his starting receivers in the base offense. In the three-receiver set, Hilton replaces Wayne outside with Wayne generally moving into the slot.


The ol' one-two
Colts fans get their first glimpse of RB Ahmad Bradshaw. QB Andrew Luck has spent countless hours on the practice field with the former New York Giants standout, but didn’t bother hiding his eagerness to share the playing field with him.

“He’s a tough sucker and we’re lucky to have him on our team,” he said. Look for Bradshaw and Vick Ballard to divvy up most of the rushing attempts, with doses of Donald Brown. Bradshaw possesses big-play potential. Ballard is a force between the tackles.

The Colts are committed to fielding a more effective running game than last year’s No. 22-ranked outfit. It would be nice if they finally had another 1,000-yard rusher. Their most recent was Joseph Addai. In 2007.

btb Posts:2230 Followers:158
09/06/2013 07:53 PM

92% of the bets coming in are on Colts in Vegas, BTB Consensus shows 85%

  • All Time Record: 263-288-7
coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
09/08/2013 08:43 AM

Pick

As btb has pointed out EVERYONE is on the Colts so that makes me weary. The Colts are the better team but over hyped causing this number to inflate. Pryor has mad the offense look decent enough to put up points and his mobility covers up the weakness on the O-Line. I will fade the %'s and take the points.

Raiders +10