Starters strong safety Mike Doss (hamstring) and cornerback Donald Strickland (shoulder/hamstring-not expected to play) are out and starting free safety Idrees Bashir (groin) will be playing hurt. Their other starting cornerback, Nick Harper (hip), has not played well and teams are picking on him every week.
Look for the Raiders to open it up down field and they'll not only pick on Harper but on Strickland's replacement rookie CB Jason David who will be making his first NFL start.
QB Kerry Collins didn't play well last week at Houston but he should bounce back against the injured Colt secondary. Look for receiver Jerry Porter to have a big day against the Indianapolis. They don't have the size in the defensive backfield to match up with Porter. The Raiders should also use a lot of multiple receiver sets in order to stretch out the Colt secondary who will be playing with a lot of backups.
The Colt run defense has improved over the last few weeks but veteran RB Amos Zereoue should have some success. However, as stated above, the way you beat the Colt defense is in the air.
Colts Offense vs. Raiders Defense
If you thought quarterback Peyton Manning did well last year when he shared league MVP honors, he's on an even better pace with 11 TD passes through four games this season. He had nine TD passes through four games in 2003.
Look for the Colts to go right at the mediocre Raider secondary, early and often. The Colts love to go to three receiver sets and that bodes well for no.3 receiver Brandon Stokley who has turned in to one of the best slot receivers in the league. Stokley will go up against veteran cornerback Denard Walker who is very beatable at this point in his career.
Stokley's emergence has taken away from second-year tight end Dallas Clark's numbers. However, Clark could be more involved this week since veteran tight end Marcus Pollard (knee) isn't 100 percent and may not play.
The Raiders will mix their coverage's but look for veteran cornerback Charles Woodson to see a lot of time covering the Colts best receiver Marvin Harrison. That leaves third-year cornerback Phillip Buchanon drawing fourth-year receiver Reggie Wayne for at least part of the time. When the Colts see that, look for Wayne to get the football.
Forecast: This game should be an aerial circus considering the game will be played indoors and you have plenty of options to move the ball down field from both teams.
Look for a game to be played in the high 20's or mid 30's from each side with the Colts coming out on top.
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