These 2018 Mighty Jon Gruden are so fantastically messed up they actually found a way to get worse in their bye week. Yeah, that’s pretty special for a 1-5 team that has been outscored by a total of 53-13 in the past two games.
But it’s true, the Raiders return from their bye week less talented team for the final, likely miserable, 10 games of the 2018 season. Proving he is in full rebuild from once again, Gruden shipped out receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas for a first-round pick.
Now, on one hand, this was a terrific move for Oakland. Cooper is terribly inconsistent. He is not worth a first-rounder. Gruden panicked when he traded Khalil Mack to Chicago last month. Jerry Jones panicked with the Cooper deal and it will benefit the Raiders next year when they have three first-round picks. They have two more in 2020.
But there are some downsides. Cooper was the No. 4 overall draft pick three years ago. You don’t draft players that high to flip them during their rookie contract. That’s no way to build. Also, there is the matter of this current team’s talent level.
Cooper may be maddening because one week he can have 10 catches for 160 yards and then next he can have one catch for four years. But he was Oakland’s best receiver. Now, it’s 33-year-old Jordy Nelson.
Cooper isn’t the only weapon removed from the Raiders’ roster. Lead running back Marshawn Lynch – who was probably Oakland’s best player in the first six games -- is on the injured reserve with a groin injury. He isn’t eligible to return until Week 16.
That means his season and career may be over. He is 32 and he is in his final season. Now, little-used Doug Martin, who was last effective in 2015 with Tampa Bay, will get most of Oakland’s carries.
There is going to be pressure on quarterback Derek Carr, who has struggled at times this year. Oh, don’t forget, Oakland’s defense is pretty terrible as well. Yes, this team is likely going to get worse before it gets better.
The Colts are just 2-5. But they might not be that bad. The Colts have scored 189 points and allowed 185. Conversely, Oakland has been outscored by 66 points this season.
The Colts thrashed the Buffalo Bills, 37-5, in Week 7. Andre Luck is starting to look healthier and healthier.
Oakland hopes left guard Kelechi Osemele can return for knee injury that has kept him out the past two games. The line has badly missed him.
The Colts are worried about veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri. They have worked out kickers this week and they may have to make a move before the game.
Coincidently, Oakland made a kicking change this week and signed Daniel Carlson. The rookie was cut by Minnesota after missing three field goals in a tie against the Packers earlier in the season. So, this game could come down to a new kicker for both teams.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
I’d usually not feel great about asking a two-win team who is a three-point favorite with Karamba on the road. But the Raiders are especially bad. It’s not like they are a great home team, either, so it’s not a huge advantage.
Seattle wasn’t a great team, but the Seahawks thumped Oakland. I could see the Colts easily outclassing Oakland. Grab the Colts -3 with Karamba.
The Raiders have a bad pass-rush and a poor secondary. Luck can have a field day. The Colts’ defense is allowing 26 points a game. Oakland has scored 19 or less points in four of their six games and they are without Cooper and Lynch. Still, I can see Oakland’s offense putting up enough points that betting the over at 888Sport makes a ton of sense.
I can see the Colts’ having success from the start of the game and building a comfortable early lead, so a nice parlay would be taking the Colts to win the first half and the first half over 24.5 at +225 with 888Sport.
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