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Bucky Brooks' Scouting Report: Week 17 at Colts

Who's the Guy?

DeForest Buckner is the straw that stirs the drink for the Colts defense. The 6-foot-7, 295-pounder is a destructive force at the point of attack, exhibiting outstanding strength and power taking on double teams at the line. As an extra-large defender with superior length and sneaky athleticism, the one-time All-Pro is a challenge to neutralize at the line of scrimmage.

Know His Name

Jonathan Taylor has been in and out of the lineup due to various injuries, but the former NFL rushing champion remains a game changer with the ball in his hands. As a rugged, downhill runner with explosive strength, power and burst, Taylor can take it the distance from anywhere on the field on a hand-off designed to hit between the tackles or on the perimeter. Though he enters Week 17 averaging just 3.9 yards per carry, the Colts' running game begins and ends with No. 28 carrying the rock on crucial downs.

Don't Sleep On…

Michael Pittman Jr. has blossomed into a top-end WR1 during his four seasons with the Colts. The 6-foot-4, 223-pounder has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, including 1,062 yards in 14 games this season. As a big-bodied pass catcher with sticky hands and a "tough guy" persona, Pittman specializes in doing the dirty work in the passing game. With Gardner Minshew living in the RPO world, the super-sized playmaker will get plenty of looks on in-breaking routes at intermediate depth against the Raiders.

Under Pressure

Gardner Minshew is an experienced QB2 with significant starting experience. He has kept the Colts' playoff hopes afloat with his timely playmaking from the pocket. Though he is a streaky playmaker prone to egregious mistakes and miscues, the veteran is more than capable of winning a shootout when he gets into a rhythm early in a contest.

Matchup to Watch

Kwitty Paye, Samson Ebukam and Dayo Odeyingbo vs. Raiders offensive tackles

The Colts' ultra-athletic pass rushers are game plan destroyers on the edges. The trio has combined for 26 sacks and seven forced fumbles as designated pass rushers in an attack-style defense. With each pass rusher possessing exceptional first-step quickness and closing speed, the Raiders must be aware of their explosiveness and athleticism on crucial downs.

Offensive Strategy

Head Coach/offensive play-caller Shane Steichen is a creative play designer with an expansive playbook that features an assortment of RPOs and play passes to complement a diverse set of runs on the call sheet. The ultra-aggressive play-caller will relentlessly attack voids and soft spots created by the defensive front or coverage. He will combine an isolation route or simple two-man concept with a traditional running play to put a second-level defender in a bind. With Minshew comfortable making quick run-pass decisions based on the defense's movements, the Colts' RPO game is problematic for opponents unable to properly match the numbers at the point of attack.

Defensive Strategy

Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wants to utilize a simplistic game plan that enables his players to play fast between the lines. The veteran assistant prioritizes effort and execution over complex schemes designed to trick the opponents. As a result, the Colts will align in a static front with minimal movement or pre-snap disguise to ensure defenders are always aligned in proper position before the snap. In addition, the Colts will feature a few basic zone coverages and man-to-man concepts with eliminating deep balls or big plays as the main objective. In theory, Bradley wants to play the odds that opponents are unable to drive the length of the field on 10-plus plays without a negative play (sack, tackle for loss, penalty or turnover) disrupting the drive. With the Colts also intent on eliminating deep balls and big plays with "top down" (defensive backs are taught to stay on top of receivers running vertical routes), the Raiders must exhibit outstanding poise and discipline attacking the coverage.

View photos of past matchups between the Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts as the Silver and Black prepare for their Week 17 matchup.

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