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2018 opponent scouting report: Raiders special teams, a prediction and draft watch

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NFL: International Series-Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

On October 21, 2018 the Indianapolis Colts will travel to face the Oakland Raiders In this week eight match-up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our new look Colts.

The last time these two teams faced off in 2016, Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and DeAndre Washington ran in two more while Andrew Luck threw two touchdowns of his own but was intercepted twice as well. Those interceptions are interceptions all the same, but if it makes a difference to you, the reader, Andrew Luck was playing with a torn Labrum. This match up will provide two teams in vastly different situations this time around. Hopefully the outcome will also be vastly different.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in week eight


Kicker:

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If you believed that the Raiders offense or defense had a rough start to the season, let me tell you about Daniel Carlson. The Minnesota Vikings traded two draft picks for the chance to select Carlson in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft.

Despite investing so much in a kicker, Carlson had a single bad game (0-3 on field goal attempts) and the Vikings unceremoniously cut the rookie kicker. The Raiders decided to give the kid a shot and despite being 1-4 on field goal attempts for his career, he is a talented kicker who won’t have a longer leash as long as Jon Gruden is his coach. As an opponent I have no idea what to expect from Carlson.


Punter:

NFL: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

This is Johnny Townsend. He is also a rookie. He was also drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft. Unlike Carlson, Townsend has had a pretty solid start to his career. His 40.7 yard net average is in the middle of the road despite a 43.1 yard overall average which is among the worst in the league. It’s pretty easy to assume that he rarely out kicks his coverage.


Returner:

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Harris is a dangerous punt returner. He is averaging more than 15 yards per return, but just over 20 yards per kick return. It’s unlikely that Harris will be the guy who determines the outcome of this game but there is a very real chance he will have the opportunity to improve his kick return numbers.


Final Thoughts for The Week:

This game is primed for a Colts win. Seriously everything is lined up for another easy victory which scares me a little, if I’m being honest. This is the first game of the season where I felt the Colts were the vastly more talented team but there’s something uneasy about this confidence. It could be because I’m placing a lot of faith in a 2-5 team but I don’t think I’m wrong. The Colts should win this game but there’s a reason they play the games.


Prediction

Colts- 38

Raiders- 21


Draft Watch

The Colts have fallen to the 5th or 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. With a win on Sunday they could fall as far as tied for 14th... if the following teams all lose their games:

Bills

Browns

Cowboys

Titans

Jaguars

Jets

Eagles

Falcons

Broncos

Given the fact that it’s impossible that all of these teams will lose on Sunday, the Colts draft position, probably won’t drop to the mid-teens. Either way, I’ll be excited when the Colts work their way out of the top 10 picks.