NFL: Raiders-Colts preview

The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Colts game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.

THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY

1. In spite of the powerful legs of Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler, special teams for the Raiders remains a problem. Neither the kickoff- nor the punt-return units for the Silver and Black have scored a touchdown this season. Chris Carrand the kick-return team are averaging 20.6 yards per return, putting them at 28th in the category, while the punt unit is getting a pitiful 4.5 yards per return, dead last in the NFL. Granted, not every team can have a talent like Chicago’s Devin Hester, but the Raiders could really benefit from the boost that a huge return gives a team — especially when facing an opponent as tough as the Indianapolis Colts.

2. When Andrew Walter came into the game in Week 13 against Green Bay, he was the fourth Raider to take a snap under center this season. Josh McCown is getting the nod again this week, but Lane Kiffin has the difficult task of finding spots to work JaMarcus Russell in while trying to maintain some kind of fluidity in the offense.

3. Peyton Manning remains the centerpiece of the Colts and slowing him down will be the Raiders’ biggest task. While New England quarterback Tom Brady is getting all the hype, Manning is putting together another solid year, with 27 TDs and a 97.0 passer rating.

KEY MATCHUPS

JOSEPH ADDAI vs. KIRK MORRISON

Addai: Passing game gets accolades, but Addai and Co. average more than 100 yards per game.

Morrison: It’s his job to make sure defense doesn’t get run over, as it did in Week 13 in Green Bay.

REGGIE WAYNE vs. STANFORD ROUTT

Wayne: Has emerged as Colts’ best receiver. Already has 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns.

Routt: His mission will be to not get burned. Manning knows how to spot an open target.

ANTOINE BETHEA vs. RONALD CURRY

Bethea: Tied for team lead in interceptions with four, leading the most underrated secondary in NFL.

Curry: Adjusting to different QBs in the same game is tough, especially against a good “D.”

COACHES' CORNER

Sure, the Raiders are huge underdogs in this one. But what better way to rally his troops for the future than to hang with the NFL’s elite? Lane Kiffin might learn a lot about his group during this game.

Tony Dungy’s Colts already have a playoff spot clinched, but don’t expect them to take a break on Sunday. Sure, there’s a shot at home-field advantage, but mainly, they won’t want to start any bad habits.

THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …

The last few games on the Raiders’ schedule are tough ones, and it will surprise no one if they lose them all. Expect a tougher-than-expected effort that still leaves Oakland at least two scores shy of the reigning Super Bowl champs. COLTS 33, RAIDERS 20

Colts at Raiders

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)

Radio: KSFO (560 AM)

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