Colts can't afford slip up against Oakland

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
8:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- A look at the Week 1 schedule and most of the games are pretty evenly matched.

Baltimore-Denver. Cincinnati-Chicago. Minnesota-Detroit. Atlanta-New Orleans. Green Bay-San Francisco. Giants-Dallas.

Then there’s the Indianapolis Colts against the Oakland Raiders.

The Colts should be able to work out any lingering concerns from the preseason against the Raiders.

The Raiders are expected to have nine new starters on defense. They’re in a rebuilding mode and many have projected them to be one of the worst teams in the league this season. The Raiders have made more news over coach Dennis Allen not publicly admitting that Terrelle Pryor will start at quarterback then about their expectations for the season.

Does that sound familiar outside of the “secret” starting quarterback situation?

That was the Colts this time last year.

And it’s for that same reason that the Colts say they don’t plan on overlooking the Raiders on Sunday. The Colts, of course, surprised the league to finish with an 11-5 record last season. One of the biggest differences between the two teams is that the Raiders don't have the luxury of having Andrew Luck at quarterback like the Colts did last season.

The Colts better not get caught looking past the Raiders because they aren’t in the position to take any opponent lightly with the schedule they have this season.

“You can’t get complacent,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “(The Raiders are) going to practice and they’re going to come all this way for one reason and one reason only -- and that’s to whip our tail and win a football game. There’s nothing worse than reading your own press clippings, thinking about what you did a year ago because nobody really cares what happened a year ago.”

Raiders running back Darren McFadden knows not many people think much of them -- which they shouldn’t -- and they’re not going to let that distract them.

“People don’t expect us to do much, but just from what we have here and being in this locker room for a while, we know what we can do,” he said. “We’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

The Colts don't want to be that first surprise.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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