A year has passed, and not much has changed for these two NFL franchises. The Oakland Raiders are still a laughingstock, and the Colts are still dominant. However, the Raiders aren't everyone's favorite laughingstock. That pseudo-honor goes to the Miami Dolphins. The Colts are also not THE dominant team. That's the undefeated New England Patriots. Randy Moss and Cato June are not with their former teams, and for some, it's noticable. There are about as many JaMarcus Russell sightings in Oakland as there were last year, and the Colts' defense still goes by 'Bob Sanders and those other 10 guys.' Not much has changed for these two franchises, and the game score will show that.
Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell v. Colts Secondary
The Raiders are probably going to give JaMarcus Russell his first serious look at the playing field in his NFL career. Of course, he gets the honor of facing the leagues best pass defense. Antoine Bethea or not, this secondary is dominant. Bob Sanders is one of the top safeties in the league. Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden punish receivers with their hard hits. If the Colts backup defensive line can get pressure on the QB, Russell may have a tough day.
Colts WR Reggie Wayne v. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha
This is a battle of greats. Without Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning has been looking to Reggie Wayne more often, and his stats show it. Wayne has been one of the top receivers in the league and is a great deep play threat. However, he isn't facing a pushover in Asomugha. Asomugha was on All-Pro last year with good reason. He dominated with 8 interceptions and 19 passes deflected. This year, his stats are less prominent, but that may have to do with the Raiders run defense that disappeared after a good 2006. Watch out for this matchup. It may decide if Jim Sorgi comes into the game in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter.
Sanders is all over the field. Justin Fargas has been one of the best backs in the league this year. If Sanders can shut down Fargas, then the pressure will be on Josh McCown and JaMarcus Russell to make plays.
The Colts' offensive line is banged up. Burgess will need to get pressure on the QB to keep the Colts' out of the endzone.
Right now, the game has started and it is tied, but the Colts are driving. My crappy TV keeps on cutting out. I'm going downstairs.