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Odds for this match taken from Caesars Sportsbook.
|Raiders vs Colts Odds
|Las Vegas Raiders
Get the latest Week 17 NFL picks against the spread!
Take the Colts to cover the spread – their offense is too deadly for the Raiders to keep up at this point.
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The 8-6 Las Vegas Raiders could really use playmaker TE Darren Waller (knee) on the field, but he is still listed as questionable for this matchup, one that has playoff implications for both teams on the AFC playoff bubble, and now to make the postseason veteran QB Derek Carr and his interim head coach Steve Bisaccia have to game plan a win here over this tough Colts team.
At this point, the Indianapolis Colts over a dozen players on the Covid-19 list including QB Carson Wentz, and since HC Frank Reich’s team is in line to earn the fifth AFC seed in the playoffs, a win here can make that more of a reality, so expect rookie backup QB Sam Ehlinger to do the same thing as Wentz has been doing – handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor.
These two AFC rivals have played each other 19 prior times (including 2 postseason games), with the Indianapolis Colts winning 9 of those games and the Las Vegas Raiders winning 10 of the games.
This season, Raiders have benefited from the production of one of the league’s top pass-catching tight ends, Darren Waller, but at this point, he is listed as questionable do to an ongoing knee issue that has kept him off the field since Week 12, bad news for this Las Vegas offense.
Not only does Waller block decently, but he is also tough to tackle once he has caught the ball, and this season in the ten games in which he has played, the 6’ 6” 255-pound tight end has caught 53 passes for 643 yards and 2 touchdowns, his longest a 33-yarder.
If Waller can’t go on Sunday, the tight end duties will be left to backup Foster Moreau, a 6’ 4” 250 pound third-year pro and LSU alum who so far this season has caught 27 passes for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns, numbers that should increase the longer Waller is gone.
One of the main reasons the Indianapolis Colts are considered a playoff contender is their star running back Jonathan Taylor, a second year pro who played at Wisconsin and now is leading the NFL in multiple categories as his team sets its sights on postseason play.
Taylor is not huge – 5’ 10” and 226 pounds – but he is fast, shifty, and powerful, which makes him tough to tackle with speed that makes him even tougher to keep up with, this season with a 297 carries for 1,626 yards and 17 touchdowns, leading the league in all three categories.
A double threat out of the backfield, Taylor has also posted 36 catches for 336 yards and 2 more touchdowns this season, so watch for him to be busy against this Raiders rush defense, ranked 19th in the league right now.
When fans first see Raiders wider receiver, Hunter Renfrow, out of uniform, some think he looks like he might add up numbers for the front office, but actually the 5’ 10” 185-pound third-year pro is one of QB Derek Carr’s favorite target on the field, especially on desperate third downs.
Renfrow learned his receiving craft at Clemson, then entered the NFL in 2019 in the fifth round of the draft, but now he has become a key part of Raiders OC Greg Olson’s offense, this season with 92 receptions for 949 yards and 6 TDs, many of those yards gained in the red zone.
Watch for ‘third and Renfrow’ to save the day for Las Vegas in this one as Colts’ cornerbacks Rock Ya-Sin and Zavier Rhodes do their best to cover him, a sure bet to target when Carr is scrambling, which, given Indy’s relentless pass rush, could be often.
Right now, the Colts’ passing attack is ranked just 22nd in the league, their production less than typical because of how much the team uses their run game, so it is not necessarily a cause for alarm as long as WR T.Y. Hilton stays active in the offense.
Hilton has been catching balls for the Colts since he was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft and now he is one of the team’s more reliable passing targets on the field, the 5’ 10” 183-pound receiver so far with 20 catches for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns in just eight games.
Low production for a receiver like Hilton who has had five 1,000+ yard seasons in his career including a league-leading 1,448 reception yard season in 2016, a solid outlet when healthy who can still earn plenty of yards after the catch.
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|Raiders vs Colts Information
|Las Vegas Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts
|Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN
|Sunday, January 2, 2022; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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