Derek Carr and the Raiders look to get back into the win column against the Colts
At 1-6 on the season, the Oakland Raiders appear to be in fire sale mode. The team already traded Khalil Mack at the eve of the season. And now earlier this week, the Raiders traded away former Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick.
Now the Raiders will try to get a win at home this week against the 2-5 Indianapolis Colts.
In their last game, the Colts destroyed the Buffalo Bills 37-5 to end their four-game winning streak. Now that they're healthy, Indianapolis is looking to make noise in a weak AFC South division.
The Raiders lead the all-time with the Colts 8-6.
Indianapolis at Oakland
Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4:05 p.m ET
Spread: Colts -3
Three Things to Watch
1. Who emerges as the Raiders' No. 1 WR?
With the Raiders trading Cooper to the Cowboys, someone on the team will need to emerge as the No. 1 receiver. Oakland will likely expect Jordy Nelson to step up. They also hope to see improvements from Martavis Bryant and rookie Marcell Ateman, who will be making his NFL debut.
“Well we need everybody to step up," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. "We need everybody. DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, everybody’s role will change. You lose a really good player, everybody has to step up. Jordy obviously is going to be playing multiple positions. I think you’ll see more of Seth Roberts. I think [Brandon] LaFell is a good player. He’s played at a high level. He’s been in a Super Bowl. He knows how to play this offense. We’ll lean on all our receivers and certainly our tight ends as well."
2. Colts tight end Jack Doyle could play on Sunday
Doyle could return to help the Colts' offense at the right time. The Pro Bowl tight end, who has missed the last five games with a hip injury has been practicing this week for the first time in a month. Doyle has a good chance to play against the Raiders this weekend.
Doyle initially suffered the injury in the Colts' Week 2 victory over the Redskins. In the two games that he has played, Doyle has caught nine passes for 80 yards. With Doyle potentially back this week, he could form a dangerous tandem with Eric Ebron, who is having one of the better seasons of his career.
3. Raiders' pass rush
The biggest question in this week's game is can the Raiders generate any pass rush on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Oakland will hope PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst continue to improve each week. Also, Arden Key and Bruce Irvin will be counted on to get pressure on Luck so the Raiders could potentially force a few turnovers.
"We talked a lot about it as a team, let’s continue to get better physically during the year," Colts head coach Frank Reich said about Luck. "He’s done that. Really going into the year I felt no limitations, no restrictions and just gotten more and more comfortable and more and more confident as the year has gone on. Certainly, that’s been true with Andrew."
The Raiders currently are 26th in the NFL in total defense at 398.5 yards per game allowed. Things aren't likely to get better against the Colts offense. In last weekend's win against the Bills, the Colts ran for 220 yards. A quality running game should open up the Luck and the Indianapolis passing game on Sunday.
The Colts appear to be getting better and healthier at the right time, while the Raiders are playing for 2019.
Prediction: Colts 31, Raiders 17
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.