The Raiders are again .500 after a Tampa Bay loss that got away from them. Against Tampa Bay they showed an ability to make big plays. They will need that versus the Browns today.
Las Vegas’ defense got carved up again. They can not fallback again versus a Browns team down Odell for the season.
Cleveland is 5-2 with big losses to their rivals the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They blew the games to the contenders but beat the Colts, Cowboys, Washington and Cowboys for what it is worth.
The Raiders have quality wins over the Saints and Chiefs but losses to the Pats, Bills and Buccs that make it hard to see thus team as a playoff squad.
That is why this game is important. The Browns and Raiders could duke it out for the three Wild Card spots in the AFC. Of course, it’s the Raiders and Browns we are talking about so anything can happen.
Las Vegas gets a boost if Trent Brown can play. Although it seems unlikely after his bout with COVID last week. He is inactive with another illness this week.
The offense could also gain Bryan Edwards back. Their offense looks good with Ruggs opening up the playbook for everyone else.
Still, the Raiders have the type of defense the Browns can get into rhythm against. Hunt could pose a problem for the Raiders as a runner and receiver. Baker Mayfield could find his rhythm too.
Defensively, Cleveland could pose some issues for the Raiders. They are down Brown. Kolton Miller is nursing a shoulder and gets matched up with Myles Garrett. The rest of the defensive line is fast.
Don’t forget Karl Joseph in the secondary. You know he is familiar with Derek Carr and wants revenge versus the team that drafted him in the first round.
Vegas will not win any game with Josh Jacobs only rushing for 17 yards. He was limited in practice this week but the Raiders will need him to play and be effective.
On defense, the Silver and Black need their defensive line to step up. Arden Key was also limited this week so Nate Irving might see some time. Either way, the Raiders need to find a way to get to Baker.
Again, the Raiders keys to victory will come down to the defensive line creating pressure. When they are good, this team finds a way to make enough stops.
Their offense is less of a problem but needs a close game. They can’t afford to play from behind because they rely on ball control, running the rock and catching teams off guard with big plays. You need your defense to make stops and that starts with pressuring the QB.