Okay….so why the “real world” in the title? I’ll tell you why. I read so many articles that cite statistical analysis, team vs. team history, key injuries, etc. You can get that type of preview on just about any website. I want to preview the game from my point of view – a real fan’s point of view. Yes, looking at some of the things stated above is important, but as an Indianapolis Colts fan, I want to preview the game based on my feelings.
For example, my best friend Dave (who just so happens to manage a really good pro wrestling website, texted me this morning. His message:
Okay Dave, I get your point. This isn’t a 1970′s Steelers team or 1980′s 49ers team that the Colts are playing on Sunday. This isn’t the storied Oakland Raiders’ franchise of the 70′s and 80′s. This is the hapless, happen-less, so boring I get sick watching them, sure to be bottom-dwelling Oakland Raiders. Of course, this is the NFL of the 21st century. Actually, this is no longer the NFL, this is the NFLP or “National Football League of Parity”. Anything can happen on a given Sunday. Right? No way! Absolutely no way! There is no way the Colts will lose to the Raiders at home in week 1. Dave is right. This is a joke of a week 1 opponent for the Colts. At least I think so…..
For some reason, I have visions of Darren McFadden running through our (improved?) defensive line. I could see him running for 75 yards in the first half alone. Terrell Pryor – someone I have despised since his snub of Penn State (easy on the Penn State comments here) could run for another 50+ yards in the first half. What if we over pursue Pryor resulting in draw plays that amount to significant yardage. He could throw a few balloon passes over the outstretched arms of our secondary. Look, I could honestly see these things happening. Oakland will be starting Khalif Barnes and journeyman Tony Pashos at the LT and RT spot, two guys who are lucky to be on an NFL roster. In fact, Barnes is technically the Raiders 4th string LT! But guess what? Barnes and Pashos started together on the 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line that gave up 0 sacks and paved the way for 236 rushing yards in a 23-21 victory over the Colts in Indy.
On the other side of the ball, Oakland’s defensive line is good. I don’t think our strategy of using the power run game will work early. If Oakland goes up early (even 3-0), what if Luck is forced into a passing situation and throws a pick? What if it’s a pick-6? Suddenly, we’re down by 2 scores. AGAINST THE FREAK’IN RAIDERS!
Maybe Dave is completely wrong. I could see these things happening because I’m a big fan and I always worry that the worst will happen. Anyone with me?
Okay, enough of the doom and gloom. I do think the Colts are ready to play. They had a good preseason (after the first game). I love the secondary and they will give Pryor fits. The current “tandem” (sarcastic) of Barnes and Pashos are not the 2008 version. The Colts defense should be able to plug the line and get to Pryor. Our LBs will have to be ready if we flush Pryor out of the pocket. Our secondary should do just fine as Pryor’s passing ability is questionable at best. On offense, we may struggle to run the ball; however, if we can open things up using quick screens (think DHB in the preseason) and passes deep down field, we could open some things up on the ground.
To me, the keys for an Indy victory are:
- Running the ball often – at least 30 times. Try and try again.
- Completing at least 65% of our passes. Luck must be accurate on his throws.
- Holding the Raiders to 2 yards or less on 1st down. Tough, but doable.
So who wins? Dave is right – the Colts will win this one rather easily. I see a 27-13 Colts victory. I worry……but then reality sets in. Mrs. ColtsGab and I will enjoy a shrimp cocktail after the game! Hope to see you there.