The NFL continues to get ravished by COVID-19 and teams are getting hit harder each week as the regular season comes to a close.
There are many teams that are having issues with COVID protocols this season. Last season, there was no vaccine to prevent this, and know that there is, more and more players are going onto the Reserve/COVID-19 list. One team that is being hit harder than most right now is the Indianapolis Colts. With 13 players now on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Colts are in danger of missing the playoffs after climbing out of a 1-4 hole.
Colts Reserve/COVID-19 List
The Colts aren’t getting any kind of help as they fight for a playoff spot this week against the Las Vegas Raiders. In their final regular-season home game this year, the Colts are likely to be missing many key players.
- QB Carson Wentz*
- LB Zaire Franklin*
- G Mark Glowinski*
- LB Darius Leonard*
- G Quenton Nelson*
- WR Zach Pascal
- S Khari Willis*
- S Jahleel Addae
- CB T.J. Carrie
- LB Malik Jefferson
- RB Marlon Mack
- T Braden Smith*
- CB Chris Wilcox
* – Denotes starter
On top of this list, the Colts are also missing starting Left Tackle, Eric Fisher. So with that, all put together, the only starting lineman that is likely to be playing this upcoming week is Pro Bowl Center Ryan Kelly. Kelly is coming off a two-game stint that he’s missed due to personal reasons. The Colts starting line is likely to feature Julien Davenport, Chris Reed, Ryan Kelly, Danny Pinter, and Matt Pryor. That is if the Colts are lucky. On top of that, the Colts will be playing with backup rookie Quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
If new protocols say it's five days from a positive test (i.e. yesterday), Carson Wentz could be cleared by Saturday. Stay tuned. https://t.co/avhH0uOaLa
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 28, 2021
This week’s matchup between the Colts and Raiders has many playoff implications on the line. If the Raiders win this week in Indianapolis, the Colts fall back, but not out of the playoff hunt. The worst they could fall is to the 6th seed, meanwhile, the Raiders move closer to the playoffs. A Raiders loss will eliminate the Raiders from any kind of playoff contention. This game is important for both sides of the field.
Dolphins, who were once 1-7, are now the #7 seed.
Updated AFC playoff picture:
1) Chiefs: 11-4
2) Titans: 10-5
3) Bengals: 9-6
4) Bills: 9-6
5) Colts: 9-6
6) Patriots: 9-6
7) Dolphins: 8-7
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 28, 2021
Colts Get It Done Against Arizona Cardinals
Christmas Day was a tough matchup for the Colts, who faced the Arizona Cardinals on the road with half their squad out with COVID and injuries. The team still managed to put away the Cardinals in spoiler fashion and was able to handle a dominant NFC team. If the Colts can do that against the Cardinals, it is possible to do the same with the Raiders. The key thing everyone should be watching for is whether or not Jonathan Taylor is playing or not. For the Colts’ sake, they need Taylor to stay off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Ehlinger and the Colts should keep the ball on the ground and get the run game started in the first quarter. The defense has proven they can play against anyone as of late. Now it’s time to put up or shut up for the Indianapolis Colts.
NFL and NFLPA are getting close to adopting the new CDC guidelines that would reduce the quarantine time to five days from 10 days for all players, including those who are unvaccinated. Agreement could be done today, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2021