At the beginning of the season, this game was marked off on my calendar for two reasons.
1) My brother the Colts fan and I were probably going to have a week long fight.
2) It looked like virtually an un-winnable game.
16 weeks later, this game is rapidly approaching, and it is no longer un-winnable. Needless to say my brother and I will still have a week long fight, for bragging rights, and now a playoff spot.
The Raiders can beat the Colts by doing three things:
1) The Raiders need to rush the ball, and stop the rush. The Colts rush defense has been dismal at best, and the Raiders have emerged as a dominant rushing force behind the legs of Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Marcel Reece, and the occasional speedy Al Davis style wide receiver. (See: Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward Bey, Louis Murphy). The Raiders rush defense has struggled against top rushing attacks from Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, but have also effectively shut down weaker rushing attacks from Denver, San Diego and Seattle. If they can effectively rush the ball, and defend the rush, they will have a very good shot at beating the Colts.
2) The Raiders need to get after Peyton Manning. They are in the top 5 in the NFL in sacks, and need to demonstrate that by sending heavy blitzes and getting after the quarterback. Having said that, they will also have to cover the Colts' receivers well, or to the best of their ability, considering it is after all Peyton Manning under center. It's easier said than done, I know, but crazier things have happened.
3) The Raiders will have to win the turnover battle. Arguably, this was the only aspect of the Raiders game against Denver today that they did not perform well in. They gave up three turnovers in the first half alone, and the Broncos converted for touchdowns on two of them. That will need to change against the explosive Colts offense, who can and will capitalize on turnovers.