Raiders heat up, while Colts also hope to keep playoff hopes alive

Dec 27, 2023, 5:07 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2023, 4:55 pm

Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs for a touchdown on a 48-yard pass pla...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 13: Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs for a touchdown on a 48-yard pass play against the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of their game at Allegiant Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Colts defeated the Raiders 25-20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Antonio Pierce intends to be the Las Vegas Raiders’ coach beyond the end of this season.

And judging from the way his players have competed in the seven games he’s been at the helm, it seems like they’d like him to be their coach for years to come.

Coming off a Christmas Day upset of the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas tries to keep its long-shot AFC playoff hopes alive Sunday when it travels to Indianapolis for a showdown with the Colts, who have their own playoff dreams to realize.

At 7-8, Las Vegas has to win out and hope for help from other teams. But if nothing else, Raiders players have shown the willingness to fight under Pierce, which is far more than they appeared to want to do under former coach Josh McDaniels.

The Raiders are 4-3 under Pierce, who said Tuesday that he’s hoping to remain in charge after the season concludes.

“As long as it looks right, sounds right and smells right, I’m fine with it,” he said. “Win, lose or draw, and I’m going to be me and (the players) are going to be them. And when this bad boy’s over with, hopefully, it all works out and we’re together for more years to come.”

It was probably fitting that Las Vegas’ defense has made a big mark on its last two wins, since Pierce played nine years in the NFL as a linebacker and won a Super Bowl ring with the 2007 New York Giants. The Raiders have scored two defensive touchdowns in each game, creating their winning margin in a mere seven second span of the second quarter in Kansas City.

But they would like to get more out of rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who followed a four-touchdown performance against the Los Angeles Chargers by completing no passes in the last three quarters at Kansas City. Las Vegas has the 25th-ranked scoring offense in the NFL.

As for Indianapolis (8-7), it again starts the week in the final wild-card spot in the AFC despite tumbling 29-10 last week in Atlanta. The Colts scored on their first drive of the game and then did next to nothing after that.

First-year coach Shane Steichen said opportunity awaits this team.

“We didn’t play our best in Cincinnati, but we bounced back against Pittsburgh,” he said. “We didn’t play our best against Atlanta and now we’ve got an opportunity at home to bounce back against the Raiders.”

Part of the problem was that Michael Pittman, the team’s top receiver, didn’t play in Atlanta after suffering a setback of concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Pittsburgh’s Damontae Kazee on Dec. 16. The NFL felt that hit was so dirty that it suspended Kazee for the season’s remainder.

Pittman, whose next catch will be his 100th of the year, cleared protocol but is questionable because of a shoulder injury. The offense also missed leading rusher Zack Moss (764 yards) last week, and he will be sidelined again in Week 17.

The Colts also deemed wide receiver D.J. Montgomery (groin), tackle Braden Smith (knee), linebacker Cameron McGrone (illness) and cornerback Kenny Moore II (back) questionable.

Raiders star running back Josh Jacobs (quad) is listed as doubtful and likely to miss his third straight game. Tight end Michael Mayer (toe) is out, while tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (knee) and center Andre James (ankle) are questionable.

The Raiders own a 10-9 advantage in the all-time series, although Indianapolis won last year’s matchup 25-20 in Las Vegas.

–Field Level Media


Las Vegas Raiders

Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders is greeted by teammates during player introductions pri...

Joseph Jarosz

Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell on what he learned in his rookie year

Aidan O'Connell, the lone quarterback holdover from last season for the Raiders, reflects on his rookie season and what year two will bring.

3 days ago

Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on as the United States national ant...

Field Level Media

Raiders WR Davante Adams: No desire to be traded

Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams wants to be in Las Vegas, and insists he'd be gone by now if he had any desire to be traded.

4 days ago

Cody Whitehair #65 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the second quarter against the Seattle Seah...

Field Level Media

Report: Raiders sign OL Cody Whitehair to 1-year deal

The Las Vegas Raiders have signed free-agent guard/center Cody Whitehair to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, according to reports.

4 days ago

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 and defensive end Maxx Crosby #98 of the L...

Joseph Jarosz

Derek Carr says he ‘cannot wait’ to face Maxx Crosby and the Raiders

Maxx Crosby will get a chance to face off against his former teammate next season. And Derek Carr cannot wait to host his former team.

11 days ago

Jordan Meredith #61 of the Las Vegas Raiders stretches before the game against the Green Bay Packer...

Joseph Jarosz

Offensive lineman Jordan Meredith re-signs with Raiders

The Raiders are bringing back 26-year-old offensive guard Jordan Meredith, however, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

18 days ago

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 01: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers looks on during the ReliaQuest Bow...

Joseph Jarosz

Report: Raiders scheduled to meet with LSU QB Jayden Daniels

According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Raiders are one of six teams to schedule meetings with LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

23 days ago

Raiders heat up, while Colts also hope to keep playoff hopes alive