I mean, they have to, right? There is no way the Raiders can lose to the Colts on Sunday is there???
On Monday morning, Colts owner Jim Irsay dismissed head coach Frank Reich after a 3-5-1 start. That was interesting enough, but coaches do get fired in the season. But what happened next is far from usual NFL business.
In a shocking move, Irsay named former Colts’ star center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. Saturday is the first head coach in the NFL with no previous NFL or even college coaching experience. Saturday, who is currently an ESPN analyst, has three years of high-school coaching experience in Georgia under his belt.
I can’t imagine being an existing coach, scout, player or staffer with the Colts right now….this is….Um, different. Love Jeff Saturday and I hope things work but this is a wild situation.— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) November 7, 2022
Irsay bypassed former NFL head coach Gus Bradley (who was the Raiders’ defensive coordinator last year) and John Fox on his staff to bring in a former player. The likely offensive play caller will be quarterback coach Scott Milanovich, who called the plays as the Jaguars’ interim offensive coordinator in 2018.
The Colts are coming off a loss to New England in which they scored just three points and they had 121 yards of offense.
Quarterbacked by Sam Ehlinger, the offensive line allowed nine sacks to the Patriots and star running back Johnathan Taylor is hurt. If the Colts score double digits, Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham should be ashamed of himself.
That leads us back to this — there is no way the Raiders can lose this game, right?
I mean, seriously, what would Mark Davis do if the Raiders lose to Saturday on Sunday? How could first-year coach Josh McDaniels look at his owner in the eyes after that? Davis has had two closed door meetings with McDaniels after losses and has seen his team blow three 17-point leads or more in eight games.
Losing to the Colts under these circumstances could (and should) be his breaking point. Hell would have to be unleashed in the Raiders’ Henderson, Nevada, building.
The Raiders, who have been favored in seven of their first nine games, have had an incredibly easy schedule, yet they are 2-6. According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Raiders are now 6-point favorites over the Colts after opening as 4.5-point favorites Sunday night.
But being favorites hasn’t worked out so well for Las Vegas. The Saints were giving up 28 points a game and they shutout the Raiders. The Jaguars lost their previous five games before beating the Raiders.
McDaniels has been unimpressive in Las Vegas, but there is no way he can blow this one, can he? On Monday morning, McDaniels side stepped a question about facing a coach with no experience this week. He knows the pressure is on him.
The Raiders are behind nine teams in the AFC by at least three games. The playoffs are likely an unrealistic goal. But they have to keep trying to move in the right direction. Lose at home to the Colts in Week 10 and there is really no coming back from that.