The Oakland Raiders are back in action, baby.
After a bye in Week 7, the Silver and Black are set to return to action Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for their first stateside game since October 7.
While the Colts are currently just 2-5, they’re coming off a big win last weekend over the Buffalo Bills, and with a resurgent Andrew Luck under center, Indy is a team that needs to be taken seriously.
Both squads are looking for a “W” at the OACC, so let’s take a look at a few matchups that will play a big role in which team comes out of Week 8 the victor.
Derek Carr vs. Andrew Luck
Once again, I think this is a game that’s going to come down to which quarterback has the better day at the office.
While the Colts are three games under .500, and in the cellar of the AFC South, Andrew Luck has been impressive in his first meaningful football run since 2016, currently ranking second in the NFL with 20 passing touchdowns already.
On the other side of things, Derek Carr is coming off back-to-back, sub-300-yard games, and with the Silver and Black in dire need of some positive momentum, a big game from No. 4 would go a long way for the team as a whole.
Obviously, the story within the story Sunday afternoon at the OACC will be how Carr and the Raiders passing offense looks without the services of now-Cowboy Amari Cooper, but regardless, all eyes will be on the respective signal-callers.
Both Carr and Luck have shown time and again that they have the ability to put a team on their back on gameday; let’s see which one of them does just that Week 8.
Raiders players return to the practice field to prepare for their Week 8 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts following the bye week.
Marquel Lee and Jason Cabinda vs. Marlon Mack
Truth be told, this is a battle I’m really excited to watch unfold at the OACC, as a trio of young, up-and-coming players square up in a game that both teams desperately need.
Let’s start with Colts running back Marlon Mack.
After a decent rookie campaign where he appeared in 14 games, Mack has been much improved in 2018. While he’s only appeared in three games in 2018, the second-year back has run at an ultra-effective clip, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
Not to mention that Mack is fresh off the heels of 19-carry, 126-yard performance last week against the Buffalo Bills, and the Raiders defense will have its hands full Sunday afternoon.
Speaking of the Raiders defense, without Derrick Johnson, Marquel Lee will likely remain cemented as the team’s middle linebacker, and he’ll also get some help this week in the form of rookie linebacker Jason Cabinda, who spent the first six weeks of 2018 on the practice squad.
Heralded as a quality run stopper, Cabinda will no doubt be tested Sunday. The tone of the game is consistently established in the trenches, and who controls the clock, let’s see which unit can accomplish that goal.
Daryl Worley vs. T.Y. Hilton
What’s one way to limit Andrew Luck? Take away the wide receiver he feeds the most.
While Eric Ebron is technically the Colts leader in both receptions and receiving yards, Hilton is hot on his heels, and he’s actually played two less games than the dynamic tight end.
The Raiders defense has certainly endured its fair share of challenges so far in 2018, but the play of Daryl Worley since he returned from suspension has been a bright spot the past few weeks.
The Colts score a lot of points – they rank 10th in the league in that metric – so Paul Guenther’s group will have to find a way to keep Indy out of the end zone.
Limiting Hilton’s production is a good place to start.