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Post-BYE Roundup; Kenny Moore paving the way for undrafted cornerbacks

Kenny Moore II entered Week 11 as the highest graded slot defender according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) scores a pick six as fans and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) cheer during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Eight AFC teams enter Week 12 with winning records, which is the objective to clinch a postseason berth in the present 17-game schedule.

Teams with records above .500 should at least vie for a playoff spot. Indianapolis is the only team outside the current AFC playoff picture with a winning record (4-3) against conference opponents.

The Colts blitz at the third lowest rate when defending the pass according to Pro Football Focus. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley leans on single-high safety zone coverage more than any coordinator in the NFL.

All 32 teams have noticeable strengths and weaknesses, but the most glaring issue that was addressed in Indianapolis is giving assistance to the inexperienced secondary. Five opposing receivers have recorded over 100 receiving yards against the Colts this season.

Jaguars’ Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 101 receiving yards and a touchdown in the season opener.

Texans’ Nico Collins finished with seven receptions for 156 receiving yards in Week 2.

Rams’ Puka Nacua had nine catches for 163 receiving yards, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime in Week 4.

Titans’ Deandre Hopkins had eight catches for 140 receiving yards in Week 5.

Saints’ Rashid Shaheed broke loose for 153 receiving yards on three catches in Week 8.

Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II entered Week 11 as the highest graded slot defender according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Moore has played 377 snaps in coverage without allowing a touchdown, which is the second-most snaps among cornerbacks. Colts GM Chris Ballard gave credit to Moore on the Official Colts Podcast for bouncing back to “playing at a Pro-bowl level.”

Week 11 roundup to recap the AFC playoff picture:

  • AFC East: Miami (7-3) beat Las Vegas (5-6) 20-13 as receiver Tyreek Hill continued to build his MVP-caliber campaign with a league-high 10 receptions for 146 receiving yards.
  • AFC North: Baltimore (8-3) beat Cincinnati (5-5) 34-20 Thursday as Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury.
  • AFC South: Jacksonville (7-3) dominated Tennessee (3-7) 34-14 to maintain its advantage in the division and set up a riveting Week 12 rematch on the road against the surging Houston Texans.
  • Wild Card Race: Cleveland (7-3) defeated Pittsburgh (6-4) as kicker Dustin Hopkins drilled a last second field goal, the fourth game-winning score for the Browns this season. With the 13-10 win, the Browns seized a game advantage in the wild card race and hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers.

Houston (6-4) held on to beat Arizona (2-9) 21-16 despite a season-high three interceptions thrown by rookie QB C.J. Stroud. The Texans can seize the AFC South lead with a win at home Sunday and hold the sixth spot with a tiebreaker over the Steelers after the 30-6 blowout win in Week 4.

Ballard mentioned he always believed “the season really starts at Thanksgiving”, but after the Jaguars swept the season series, a Texas win can ultimately benefit the Colts. Indianapolis has lost four of its five home games and hosts Tampa Bay (4-5) in Week 12.