Indianapolis (8-4) at Las Vegas (7-5)
When: Sunday, December 13th, 2020
Where: Allegiant Stadium,
Time: 4:05 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Indianapolis -2.5/50.5
In a game that features major playoff implications, the Indianapolis Colts travel to the desert to take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon from beautiful Allegiant Stadium. There is lots on the line, as the Colts and Raiders both continue to grind toward clinching a spot in the postseason. The Raiders are coming off a gift win after one of the worst defensive calls in recent NFL history led to a last second win over the New York Jets, while the Colts are coming off a division win over the Houston Texans. Indianapolis enters Week 14 occupying the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC with Las Vegas right behind in the No. 8 slot. The Raiders have a nice scheduling edge with their next three games at home including a Thursday night contest with the lowly L.A. Chargers followed by a Week 16 matchup with the Miami Dolphins, who enter this week occupying the sixth seed. Las Vegas’s 31-28 victory over the winless Jets came when quarterback Derek Carr took advantage of an all-out blitz and hit rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III in one-on-one coverage for a 46-yard touchdown with five seconds to go. That loss by the Jets got defensive coordinator Gregg Williams rightfully fired the next day. The Colts come in off a 26-20 victory at Houston, as Philip Rivers was 27-of-35 passing for 285 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts held a 24-20 lead at halftime and the game remarkably still went under the total of 47.
The Colts opened up as 2.5-point favorites with a total of 51.5. The line has inched up a little to Colts -3 +100 and the total hasn’t budged. This will be the third year in a row the Colts and Raiders have met. Last year, the Oakland Raiders won 31-24 at Indianapolis after the Colts took a 42-28 road win the year before. The Colts are 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last four games as a road favorite, while Las Vegas comes into this game with a 5-1 record ATS in their last six games versus an AFC opponent. The over is 5-1-1 in the Raiders last seven games as the underdog and 5-1 in their last six games following a straight up win.
The Colts’ defense held Houston’s Deshaun Watson in check last week by intercepting him once and forcing a fumble late in the game inside the red zone to seal the win. Houston didn’t score a single point in the second half and the Colts rank 15th in the league with 28 sacks. Indy also ranks near the top in points allowed at 22.8 and total yards surrendered per game (319.0). On offense, Rivers is coming off a strong performance last week, throwing for 285 yards on 27-of-35 passing with two touchdowns and zero picks. Receiver T.Y. Hilton was his favorite target with 110 receiving yards and both touchdowns. This will be Rivers’ 29th start against the Raiders, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer John Elway for the most against the franchise in the regular season. Rivers already owns the mark for most wins (18), touchdown passes (47) and passing yards (7,103) against the Raiders. Five Colts players missed practice due to injury: Rivers (toe), left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee), defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis (hip), safety Khari Willis (back, quad) and punter Rigoberto Sanchez (illness). Le’Raven Clark, who started at left tackle at Texas, was placed on Injured Reserve with a season-ending Achilles injury.
Carr was terrific last week with 381 passing yards and three TDs, while tight end Darren Waller had a big game with a season-high 200 receiving yards and two scores. It was the 20th career fourth-quarter comeback for Carr, an NFL record for most in a player’s first seven seasons. He completed 28-of-47 while also rushing for a touchdown. Waller was just the fourth tight end in NFL history to have 200-plus receiving yards and two touchdowns in a game. The Las Vegas offense has been strong all season in third down situations, converting them 48.7 percent of the time, the third best number in the NFL. The Raiders defense hasn’t been able to pressure quarterbacks, only picking up 15 sacks on the year, which is tied with the Jaguars for 29th in the league. They did hold Jets QB Sam Darnold to just 186 passing yards and sacked him three times. Defensive ends Maxx Crosby (six sacks) and Clelin Ferrell (two sacks) lead the way. The Raiders had three players skip practice because of injury on Wednesday: corner Damon Arnette (beck/concussion), safety Jeff Heath (concussion) and running back Josh Jacobs (ankle). Right tackle Trent Brown returned to practice after being activated from the COVID-19 list.
The Colts defense has been a little shaky in the last three weeks, giving up 31 and 45 against Green Bay and Tennessee, then allowing 20 in the first half to Houston before setting down. I think the Raiders offense can take advantage and also get more pressure on Rivers to force him into mistakes. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Raiders +3
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