Two weeks ago, the Las Vegas Raiders were 5-8 and coming off a loss in which they scored the same number of points as you and me. Fast-forward and as insane as it sounds, the Raiders are still technically alive for the postseason.
Yes, the odds are slim (NFL.com gives them a 12% chance) — but they’re not zero, and with the way the Raiders have looked the past two weeks I’m afraid to count them out. While they are currently 11th in the AFC at 7-8, they’re one game behind the four teams right in front of them — and are playing the current No. 7 seed, the Indianapolis Colts, this weekend.
While the Raiders are riding high with back-to-back wins, the Colts have lost two of their last three including an embarrassing 29-10 loss to the Falcons and Taylor Heinicke last week. Has the magic run out for Gardner Minshew and the Colts? Sunday’s test against what has become one of the better defenses in the league will go a long way toward telling us how serious both of these teams are about the postseason.
On to the picks…
Last Week: 4-0, +3.72u Season: 39-37-2, +2.59u
While Josh Jacobs to score was our fifth pick of the week (and he didn’t play), the other four picks all hit pretty comfortably for yet another perfect week. We’re back in the positive for the season and looking to stay that way with two weeks to go!
Colts UNDER 23.5 points (-115)
With all due respect to Mr. Minshew and the Colts, the Raiders just held Patrick Mahomes to just 14 points (seven of which came in what was essentially garbage time) so this number seems far too high. With star receiver Michael Pittman Jr. questionable to play in this one, I think the Raiders’ defense can key in on Jonathan Taylor and force the Colts to beat them through the air.
Malcolm Koonce OVER 0.5 sacks (+300)
Koonce has five sacks in his last two games, and as long as Maxx Crosby is on the other end of the line teams are going to dare Koonce to beat them. Over the last three weeks, Indianapolis is allowing four sacks per game (tied for the third-worst mark in the league), so this big number is too tempting to pass on.
Aidan O’Connell UNDER 211.5 passing yards (-115)
Even with Josh Jacobs listed as doubtful for this one, I think the Raiders will pound the rock and ask O’Connell to simply take what the defense gives him. While the Colts have struggled against the run (I’d have a Zamir White prop for you, but there aren’t any lines with Jacobs’ status still unofficial), they’re a middle-of-the-pack pass defense, allowing 220.7 passing yards per game. I think O’Connell is right around 190, so give me the under here.
Gardner Minshew OVER 0.5 interceptions (+135)
Minshew has thrown an interception in seven of his last ten games, and the Raiders defense is feeling itself right now, playing with a confidence and swagger that makes an interception feel inevitable. If you want to get crazy, Jack Jones is +700 for getting the pick — but I’ll take the plus odds and take the field against Minshew.
Raiders TO WIN against Colts (+160)
The smart thing to do would be to take the 3.5 points, but the fun thing to do is to take the money line. In all seriousness: I think the Raiders are better than the Colts, and even though it’s on the road I think the Raiders are riding high after walking into Kansas City and leaving with a win — so give me the Raiders to win their third in a row. As for a final score? How about 23-17.