Josh Downs vs. Nate Hobbs
The rookie wide receiver has been quite since his 125-yard, one touchdown game against the Cleveland Browns, and has not gotten over 50 yards in the last seven, with three of those below 20. Nate Hobbs has been one of the most consistent slot coverage cornerbacks this season, and will prove to be a tough matchup for Downs, who the Colts have to look to get going more for the offense to flow.
Gus Bradley vs. Aidan O’Connell / Zamir White
The Colts’ defense has an unfortunate tendency of making backup quarterbacks look like the reincarantion of Peyton Manning, and Bradley’s unit will go up against not only a backup QB but also most likely a backup running back if Josh Jacobs is not ready to suit up yet. With a tough game ahead for the offense, the defense will need to put their recent struggles aside and shutdown the Raiders’ offense.
Braden Smith / Bernhard Raimann vs. Maxx Crosby
Thankfully it looks like Braden Smith will be back and ready to go, and it could not have come at a better time considering the Colts will face Maxx Crosby next. Crosby has been one of the NFL’s most efficient pass-rushers this year, and I am worried about Steichen’s coaching staff failure to adapt their gameplan to premier pass-rushers, as it happened with Trey Hendrickson and Myles Garrett when the initial gameplan did not work out. Considering how much pressure affects Gardner Minshew, the Colts will need a lot of focus and resources to keep Crosby in check as much as possible.
Jaylon Jones / Julius Brents vs. Davante Adams
Davante Adams is still one of the best wide receivers in the entire NFL, and even despite the terrible quarterback and offensive situation he is, he still has close to 1.000 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Jaylon Jones and Julius Brents are both rookies, who are prone to mistakes a savvy receiver like Adams will be keen to exploit. Limiting big plays will be key for the defense, and also without starting safety Julian Blackmon, Jones and Brents will need to be the best they can be.
Colts’ team vs. Recent inconsistencies
The Colts had perhaps their best win of the season sandwiched between two terrible losses, so I don’t know what to think of this team just yet. Recent history is not by their side either, with the Duval collapse still fresh in the mind of most Colts’ fans. They have two hard games that they should be able to win remaining, so this will be the time for the players to show their true colours, and if they really are winners.