NFL PREDICTION: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Indianapolis Colts bring an 8-4 record to Las Vegas on Sunday as they take on the Raiders. The Colts have won three of their last four, splitting two with the Titans, beating the Packers in overtime, and edging the Texans down in Houston. They have the same record as Tennessee, but the Titans have a better record in the division, so they hold the tiebreaker for now.
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Las Vegas comes in at 7-5 and has dropped two of three; they won on Sunday in New York, but the Jets’ bizarre decision to rush eight in a Hail Mary situation led to an easy bomb from Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs III, giving the Raiders a three-point win (and leading to the firing of Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams).
Can the Colts take care of business against a reeling Raiders team? Or will the Raiders get back the form they showed in earlier wins against Kansas City and Denver?
Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, December 13)
When: Sunday, December 13, 2020, 4:05 pm ET
Where: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM Indianapolis / KOMP 92.3 FM Las Vegas
Why the Colts Will Win
If you follow our NFL content regularly, you know that I suspect Philip Rivers will meltdown and throw an interception at exactly the wrong time for the Colts at some point, sending their season to an early conclusion. The Colts use a conservative approach, pounding the ball with Jonathan Taylor and trying to limit Rivers’ exposure, and he has a decent 18:9 TD: INT ratio, but that pick number is high for a veteran quarterback.
The Colts lead with their defense, which permits 319 yards and 22.8 points per game. Justin Houston has been a beast in the pass rush, tallying 7 ½ sacks, and Darius Leonard is the team’s leading tackler with 86. When the Colts have been a road favorite, they have covered in four straight games. They are also 4-1 against the spread in their last five games away from home. Also, in the Raiders-Colts rivalry, the road team has covered in four of the last five meetings.
Why the Raiders Will Win
After a strong start, the Raiders have started to melt down a bit, following up a big win over Kansas City and a tough win in Cleveland on a cold, rainy day with some tough losses. Derek Carr has made some poor decisions when under pressure, and the Raiders’ defense has been porous. However, Carr still has a 22:5 TD:INT ratio, and in eight of the team’s last 11 games, Carr has thrown at least two touchdown passes. He had four against the Chiefs when Kansas City came to town.
The defense is taking on water, though, permitting almost 29 points per game. Ageless safety Jeff Heath still leads the team with three interceptions, but takedowns are way down in recent games. Las Vegas has lost three of four at Allegiant Stadium, and they face a Colts team that has done a lot of damage on the road.
The Final Word: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Jon Gruden has brought a new toughness to the Raiders, but they’re still a year away from contending. The Colts grind with that defense. I see them eking out a win.
Free Pick: Raiders +2.5
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