The Indianapolis Colts have been no stranger to managing adversity in 2023. They could face their biggest challenge as they prepare to square off against the Los Angeles Rams at home on Sunday. With a growing injury report, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, the Colts will have to dig deep if they aim to pull off a victory.
Ryan Kelly’s Continued Absence
Kelly’s inability to clear the concussion protocol is a significant blow. His expertise in the center position can’t be understated, and missing him for a second week will undoubtedly have repercussions. Wesley French, despite showing promise, is yet to prove himself against a formidable defense like the Rams - or a player like Aaron Donald.
Raimann’s Sudden Concussion
Left tackle Bernhard Raimann’s sudden appearance on the injury list adds more salt to the wound. He has taken a massive second-year leap at left tackle and one of the biggest positives on an offensive line that has looked much better than a season ago. Raimann’s absence paves the way for Blake Freeland to step in. Freeland’s performance may have as much of a role in the outcome as French at center.
The Uncertainty Surrounding Buckner and Nelson
DeForest Buckner’s potential absence could drastically affect the defensive dynamics for the Colts. Having played a pivotal role in making the defensive line one of the more respected in the league, Buckner’s uncertain status is cause for concern. If he can’t go, Taven Bryan will be expected to step up, and all eyes will be on how he can handle the pressure.
Similarly, guard Quenton Nelson’s toe injury, which has been a persistent issue, could limit his ability on the field. Even if he does play, questions about his effectiveness will persist. A limited Nelson and a backup center don’t bode well against a player like Aaron Donald. If Nelson can’t go, Josh Sills will be asked to prove himself against the best in the game.
Game Prediction and Odds
As of this writing, DraftKings Sportsbook gives the Colts a one-point advantage. Expect that line to move if some or many of the players who are game-time decisions are listed as out. The combined weight of injuries on both the offensive and defensive lines might just tip the scales in favor of the Rams.
Sunday’s matchup promises to be thrilling, if for no other reason than the sheer unpredictability of who will play. The Colts’ depth will be tested yet again. It is likely the defense will need to step up and relieve some of the pressure on rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson as he returns to the starting lineup. Let’s hope he doesn’t get too acquainted with Aaron Donald.