The Week 4 matchup is a big one for both teams. The Colts are looking to avoid an 0-4 start for the first time since 2011 and only the second time since Peyton Manning’s rookie season in 1998. The Dolphins are coming off of a tough overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders.
As the Colts play with their backs against the wall, here are six players to watch in the Week 4 matchup:
RB Nyheim Hines
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The Colts are likely to run with their two-headed backfield again featuring lead-back Jonathan Taylor and the ever-electric Hines. While Taylor will likely get the majority of work, it will be interesting to see how much his knee injury impacts his workload. Taylor was limited throughout the week in practice.
But Hines is a player to watch because the Colts haven’t been very consistent with his touches. Even dating back to the 2020 season, it seems the Colts would move away from Hines even after a big game. The offense is lacking production and explosiveness right now with a poor offensive line and a hobbled Carson Wentz.
Getting Hines consistently involved in the game, however they can, is a priority for the Colts on Sunday.
AP Photo/Stacy Bengs
The Colts will be without All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson after he suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 3. It’s so serious that they placed him on the injured reserve list. Getting the start in his place will be the veteran Reed, who just might be the best depth piece along the offensive line.
Losing Nelson is a big deal. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. He sets the tone for the offensive line and is an impactful leader for the front. But there are certainly worse replacements than Reed. The veteran seems to have a solid outing every time when he’s gotten a chance.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact the absence of Nelson will have on the entire game.
RT Julién Davenport
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
Not only will the Colts be without their All-Pro left guard, but they will also be without starting right tackle Braden Smith for the third game in a row. Getting the call in the meantime is likely to Davenport, who has been splitting time with Matt Pryor.
Davenport is someone to watch because his matchup with Emmanuel Ogbah will likely determine the outcome of the game. Ogbah is playing like an elite edge rusher through three weeks while Davenport has left much to be desired as a pass-blocker.
If Davenport can’t make adjustments and hold the edge long enough for Wentz to get through his progressions, it will be another long day for the offense.
DE Kemoko Turay
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Staying along the lines of injury replacements, there is a chance we see a lot more of Turay due to the absence of rookie Kwity Paye, who was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
Turay hasn’t gotten much run with the defense outside of a handful of snaps in the NASCAR package and on obvious passing downs. Now, the Colts may have no choice but to turn to the bendy edge rusher in hopes he can recapture some of that 2019 magic he showed early in the season.
It has been a long road for Turay, and he’s in a crucial contract year. He might be able to get things going against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
No. 3 CB
AP Photo/Wade Payne
We don’t have a specific player in mind here because it isn’t clear what plan the Colts have. However, they will have to dig into their depth one way or another. After T.J. Carrie was placed on the injured reserve list during the week and Rock Ya-Sin was ruled out for the game due to an ankle injury, the cornerback room is thin.
If the Colts wanted to lean more on replacing those two with a typical boundary cornerback, they would turn to BoPete Keyes, who was a healthy scratch in Week 3. Keyes hasn’t seen much playing time since the team claimed him off waivers following roster cuts. That said, he has the build and skill set to play on the outside.
They could also kick Kenny Moore out to the boundary given his length and press skills while giving Isaiah Rodgers some extra reps in the slot.
Regardless, this position will have a major impact on the game Sunday.
S Andrew Sendejo
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Among the starters that were ruled out for Sunday’s game include safety Khari Willis, who suffered a groin injury against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. Stepping in, for the time being, will be Sendejo, who has been with the team for only a few weeks.
That said, the Colts are ready to throw Sendejo into the fire as a starter in the secondary simply because they don’t have anyone else. They could play George Odum more on defense, but they have some weird bugaboo with that whole notion.
So Sendejo will be one of the key players in the secondary next Julian Blackmon at safety likely to play a little closer to the line of scrimmage.