In trying to make back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time since 2000-02, the Las Vegas Raiders will navigate the NFL’s fourth-hardest rated schedule, according to Pro Football Focus.
That will include several teams that have offensive lines that could prove a worthy challenge for the Raiders’ high-end pass rush.
There was a time very recently that the Indianapolis Colts could say they had arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
They might not be quite at that level heading into the 2022 season, but they still have the ingredients to be among the better o-lines in the NFL.
That all starts with guard Quenton Nelson, who has established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the league.
Nelson didn’t quite live up to that standard last season, missing four games because of injuries and finishing with the lowest grade he has ever been given by Pro Football Focus.
At the same time, that grade was still above average, and there’s no reason to think he can’t get back to his All-Pro status.
Another rebound could also be in store for three-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly, who also recorded the worst PFF grade of his career last year.
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One returning starter who didn’t falter was right tackle Braden Smith, who graded out as a top-15 overall tackle.
That core can still serve as the Colts’ nucleus, but they’ll have to replace starters at both left tackle and right guard.
Third-year center Danny Pinter could have the inside track at guard after playing well in limited snaps last season.
On the left side, both Matt Pryor and Dennis Kelly should have a chance to compete after similarly succeeding in limited playing time.
They’ll have to prove they can sustain that level of play over a full season, although Kelly has served as a full-time starter as recently as 2020.
Even if they’re not as effective playing more snaps, as long as Nelson and Kelly have a return to form, along with Smith continuing his level of play, the Colts will present the same obstacle that the Raiders had to overcome last season.
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