Indianapolis Colts (3-5-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-6)
The Colts have had a disastrous season. Their offense has been horrible (26th in offensive schedule adjusted efficiency) and attempts to improve it, by benching veteran quarterback Matt Ryan for unproven 2021 6th round pick Sam Ehlinger and by firing offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, have arguably made it worse, culminating in a 2.0 yards per play performance in New England last week, which ultimately lost head coach Frank Reich his job.
Making matters even worse, instead of promoting an interim head coach from the inside, the Colts pulled a wild card and hired former center Jeff Saturday, who has never coached above the high school level and who has not been in this locker room all season, leaving them in a precarious coaching situation at say the least, without experienced coordinators either, with Marcus Brady being fired last week and long-time defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus not really being replaced this off-season.
The Colts are also without top linebacker Shaq Leonard, likely for the season, although he’s barely played anyway this season and the Colts still rank 12th in defensive schedule adjusted efficiency, the only reason they have managed to win three games this season. With Ehlinger remaining under center and no offensive leadership though, their offense is likely going to be too much for their defense to overcome going forward, especially without Leonard.
The Raiders have also had a disastrous season, starting 2-6, despite making the playoffs a year ago and having expectations of going on a deeper run this year, after trading away their first two draft picks for Davante Adams. The Raiders aren’t getting blown out for the most part though, with five of their six losses coming by seven points or fewer and both of their wins coming by multiple scores. Overall, they have a -18 point differential, while ranking 21st in schedule adjusted overall efficiency, 1.5 points below average, which is disappointing, but nearly as bad as the Colts, who are 3.5 points below average.
The injuries are starting to pile up, with talented slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, talented tight end Darren Waller, and top cornerback Nate Hobbs among other absences, but they are still only 2 points below average in my roster rankings, as opposed to 6 points below average for the Colts. My calculated line is Las Vegas -5, so we’re getting some line value with them as 4.5-point favorites, especially once you factor in the disarray around the Colts coaching staff. There isn’t enough here for the Raiders to be worth betting, but this should be a relatively easy win for them, like their multi-score wins over the Broncos and Texans.
Las Vegas Raiders 24 Indianapolis Colts 17
Pick against the spread: Las Vegas -4.5