Beat the Chiefs and Thoughts from Miami

The Raiders last beat the Chiefs in October 2020. Before that, they last beat them in October 2017. Therefore, Vegas is due an upset over their AFC West rival.

Kansas City is off a close loss to the Eagles on Monday Night. They were a few drops away from really making that game a blowout. Philadelphia showed you can beat Kansas City with consistent play from your running game and front seven. The Raiders should expect Kansas City to come out focused on execution this week.

Still, Kansas City narrowly escaped the Dolphins the week prior to playing Philly. They also lost by two scores to the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs are beatable if the Raiders play their game.

Last week, the Raiders fought hard versus a more talented Dolphins team. Per usual, they had no answer for Tyreek Hill. Hill left the game midway with injury and still finished with way over 100 yards receiving.

The Raiders defense still made enough plays and created enough turnovers to keep the team in reach. They needed more from their pass rush as far as sacks but they did a good job finding ways to get off the field on tough spots.

Unfortunately, Aiden O’Connell missed on a few shots that would’ve changed the game. He also threw three interceptions. O’Connell can’t afford another week like that.

Still, The Raiders also gave up on the run too early. They were trying to get Davante Adams engaged early. But they should’ve stuck with the run, particularly with left tackle Kolton Miller out. It only takes one big dash from Josh Jacobs and his entire yards per carry would have went up. That’s what’s crazy about yards per carry

Miller along with guard Dylan Parham are listed as questionable versus Kansas City. The Raiders will need to establish the run to control the clock and keep the Chiefs offense off the field. That’s hard to do if the Raiders get down big early. A few turnovers from the Raiders defense should also help negate any big plays from the Chiefs.

Maxx Crosby was listed as doubtful but he’s expected to play. The Raiders will need his pass rush versus Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs. Vegas needs someone else to step up and make some plays too. Tyree Wilson could be an x-factor this week. Either way, the interior lineman must be stout against the run too. Kansas City is too hard to beat when their running backs are engaged and clicking.

The Chiefs can get away from their run game. However, I expect them to rely on that given their receivers deficiencies. Regardless, we know Travis Kelce is a problem. The Raiders linebacker corps has dealt with injuries all season. They will be on notice. Hopefully safety Trevon Moehrig can play as the Raiders will need his help over the top.

A lot of people hope Vegas will sign All-Pro LB Darius Leonard after he was released by the Colts. Leonard makes a lot of sense as he can really play any of the linebacker spots. He’s a ball hawk, tackle machine and turnover creator. Leonard would fit nice to Spillane and the Raiders bulky interior front. Only issue is Leonard has dealt with injuries and inconsistent playing time over the last three seasons. It would still be cool if Vegas had him in this game for support in the middle.

Ultimately, the Raiders got to get the best out of what they have on their roster. They need to execute to the best of their ability to even have a chance in this game. Moreover, their best chance will come from sticking to their game plan.

The game plan needs to revolve around establishing the run and helping O’Connell find a rhythm with some easy passes. Vegas can not afford to not capitalize on good field positions or turnovers again. They need to run the ball on the first two downs to setup east third down conversions. Then they can mix in the deep shots to keep the defense honest.

On defense, they need to stay the course and play discipline versus the run. They need to find ways to pressure the quarterback and create some turnovers. Vegas has been able to do that in key spots this year. Most of all, they can’t get rattled if they give up a big play. They must have a bend don’t break mentality.

A loss here will bury the Raiders deeper in the AFC Wild Card race. Regardless, this home game versus a stronger opponent should tell us what we need to know about this Raiders team and head coach Antonio Pierce. Any one can coach when the team is winning. But how do you bounce back after a tough road loss? Will guys still respond and stick to the plan? What energy will they bring to their home field versus a rival that features a more talented roster?

If Vegas can pull out a win here, Pierce has a really strong case to keep his job. A loss wouldn’t mean a final verdict. However, it’s more important the Raiders keep their swagger and identify regardless if they win or lose.

Nonetheless, nobody wants silver linings. Raider Nation wants to beat the Chiefs. They want to stay in the playoff race. Let’s see if the Raiders can deliver. Just Win Baby!

About the last two weeks and keys to beating the Dolphins

It has been a hell of turnaround the last two weeks. The Las Vegas Raiders are 2-0 under interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

Vegas dominated a New York Giants that was bad. The Giants also lost their starting quarterback early in the game. Vegas spread the ball around at home. It was the most dominate performance of the season fresh off the Raiders making an organizational change.

Then, the Raiders beat the Jets in a super close prime time game. The Jets could’ve easily won that game as the two teams were evenly matched. The Jets could’ve given the Raiders some problem with young talent throughout the roster. Former Raider Solomon Thomas got a sack for the Jets. Quinnen Williams chipped in half a sack.

Both victories came at home. Neither showing was perfect. The offensive line loo led good but also took some losses. However, it was nice to see the Raiders string together some wins.

Now, Pierce must lead his guys on the road. Raider Nation knows the Raiders’ woes traveling to the East Coast too well. The Raiders opted to practice three hours early, rather then go to Florida early. Hopefully, it pays off in Miami versus a Dolphins’ team that scored more than 30 points in five games.

Vegas needs to stick to the formula. Josh Jacobs has had his best two games of the season. He finally seems to be getting some momentum. The Raiders got the ball to Davante Adams to keep the Jets honest. Raiders rookie quarterback Aiden O’Connell hasn’t been perfect but he has had shimmers of success. Great offensive line play and a successful rushing attack provide safety to a rookie quarterback. The Raiders need to stick to that formula.

On defense, the Raiders are finding their stride. They got an interception and two sacks last week. They kept Breece Hall in check a week after not really having an answer for Saquon Barkley. Barkley averaged over five yards per carry but the Giants got away from the running game due to the large defector. Vegas was able to sack the quarterback eight times and they registered two interceptions versus the G-Men.

Now, the Raiders will get the Miami Dolphins in the road. Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has more poise and accuracy than the last two quarterbacks the Raiders played. Tyreek Hill always tears up the Raiders dating by to his Chief days. I’m sure he will love to do it again. The Raiders secondary needs to play discipline over the top and the corners need to play more cautiously. Miami can beat them in single coverage and over the top deep.

The Miami Dolphins will also get rookie running back De’Von Achane back from IR. Achane had 7 touchdowns and over 400 yards before he went down with a knee injuries. Overall, this Dolphins offense is much more explosive than the Raiders’ last two opponents. Let’s see if the Raiders can keep their swagger this week.

Pierce deserves a lot of credit for the last two wins, since he’s effectively opened up the lines for communication between players and staff again. Yet, we’ll see how he really does leading this team on the road versus a strong opponent. We’ll be more able to judge his long term coaching ability by the adjustments he makes if the team goes down. How will they respond if they go down bad?

Either way, it seems like the Raiders are getting back to their identity. Expect them to lean on Jacobs early as well as push the ball downfield in spots. The running game will help the Raiders keep the Dolphins offense off the field.

Defensively, the Raiders really need to get after the quad back but also play discipline against the run. They got to stay at home versus the running game and they can’t suffer any big games to misdirection. Collectively, the defense can’t get down if they give up any big plays. They also need to keep finding ways to takeaway the ball. If the Raiders can get a few sacks, it might be easier to force Tua into an interception. Plus, turnovers gives the offense momentum, a short field and favorable terms.

The Raiders and Dolphins both have 18 wins versus each other historically. They went to overtime the last time they played in 2021, but both teams were totally different. This time the Dolphins are playing to create some separation in their division. They also want to prove their status as a contender. Vegas, on the other hand, needs a win to elevate them in a crowded AFC Wild Card picture.

This is going to be a tough win on the road. But the Raiders could use the momentum headed into a division bout with the Chiefs next week.

Running the ball, converting plays downfield, creating turnovers, stopping the run and limiting big plays will help the Raiders win their third straight for the first time this season. If Vegas can secure this road win, Pierce will earn his third cigar celebration. Regardless, it’s nice to see the Raiders regain some swagger. Hopefully, they keep playing with that fun and intensity no matter if they win or lose.

This ain’t really about the Lions or Giants

The Raiders finally made a move for all the dogs. Raiders owner Mark Davis fired his general manager and head coach. A lot of folks did not expect him to make that sort of move this early in their contract. It will cost Davis a lot of money. However, he showed RaiderNation he is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

It makes a ton of sense given how the Raiders played the last two weeks. They lacked an identity. They lacked cohesion. They lacked creativity. Raiders alumni took the social media to expressed their displeasure. Many fans applauded the move after the Raiders did not play like their tradition.

Further, it came out that the players only meeting held last week was actually led by now interim head coach in Antonio Pierce. Pierce is saying all the right things in his few days as head coach. He grew up in Southern California and understands the Raider way of playing football. Have fun, swagger, and physicality. Impose yourself on both sides of the ball.

The guys already seem to be responding as their morale has lifted. We will see what happens today when Pierce takes on the Giants franchise he won a championship with in 2007.

Vegas’ coaching move also makes sense given how popular the Aces and Golden Knights are in Las Vegas. The Raiders play in the most popular sport and came over as an established brand. They also built the biggest arena. Yet, they have fallen in popularity to the Aces and Knights. The Aces and Knights have also won and both brought hardware to Sin City. The Raiders have not even won a playoff game in Vegas. Davis looked at that and realized he needed to make a change to establish himself in the growing sports market.

Hopefully, Davis sticks to the head coach and GM if they make a notable difference with the second half of the season. Technically, the Raiders are not out of it.

Nobody should expect a Super Bowl, given the talent on the roster. Nonetheless, they have enough to compete. The Chiefs look more beatable than years passed since they just lost to the Broncos. The AFC is wide open.

Now, Vegas takes on a New York Giant team that has been disappointing on their own. New York just traded away one of their best defensive lineman in Leonard Williams. The Giants still have some speed on the outside. Saquon Barkley is still one of the most explosive runners in the game. Vegas is going to need to tackle better in the last few weeks.

Against the Lions, the defense created three turnovers for the second time this season. They gave up a lot of yards, but they made enough plays to keep the team from getting blown out. If the Raiders offense shows up, there’s no reason they shouldn’t win this game.

The Raiders had three close wins, three blow out losses and two close loses. This is an opportunity for the Raiders to show who they are and who they want to be for the rest of the season. Already, the Raiders signed several linebackers after Pierce took over. That includes former Cowboys and Giants linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith doesn’t have same coverage abilities as his Pro Bowl days but he should help the team with tackling and stopping the run.

Speaking of, it’s important they run the ball with Josh Jacobs, specially with the Giants down one of their better run defenders without Williams. Vegas also needs to get Devantae Adams the ball early and often. The Raiders are starting rookie quarterback Aiden O’Connell i hopes he can stretch the field better. O’Connell started earlier this year so the Giants will have a film on him. He’s not going to get away with forcing bars into a lot of tight windows. However, he needs to find Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Jakobi Myers when open.

I knew McDaniels was done being the head coach, when QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked lost and helpless on the final two drives against Detroit. Those last two series ended in consecutive sacks after Garoppolo already visibly missed Adams several times. A couple of those converted shots keep the Raiders in the game. Still, Jimmy G. came over to be a McDaniels guy and the head coach left his quarterback out there looking punch drunk. It was unacceptable.

Moving forward, the Raiders really need to rely on the run game. The offensive line has not been great outside of Kolton Miller’s consistency. They will get a challenge with Dexter Lawrence eating up blocks and pushing the pocket. However, Jacobs can provide a security blanket for his rookie quarterback.

Lastly, the defense needs to keep up the momentum. If they can continue to create turnovers, they give this team a chance. As a former linebacker coach, I do not expect Pierce to take great field position for granted. I’d also expect him to take a little bit more chances in scoring and fourth down opportunities, but I also do not think he will just make a gamble for the sake of a gamble. He is going to rely on his defense to pressure the quarterback, and come away with takeaways. That will create opportunities for the young QB.

Again, I’ve been saying it for years and weeks. The Raiders just need to play their brand of football and they should come away with a win in Vegas. The Silver and Black can get ahead of the chains with the run game and setup to take big shots deep. They can put the Giants offense on their heels. That will keep Saquan from merely moving the chains with the run. It will also force Giants QB Daniel Jones to take chance which the Raiders can convert to turnovers.

It’s time to get back to playing football the Raiders way. Run the ball, push the ball down field, get home to the QB and take the ball away. Vegas can win this game if they do that. And they will help Pierce make the case to keep his job.

Raiders Vs Lions: Chicago Lessons and Prime Time

Another week, another prime time game for the Raiders. They travel to Detroit for what we thought would be an offensive shootout.

The Raiders are coming off a bad loss to a Chicago Bears team they had no business losing to. Chicago was down key players throughout the roster but still found a way to embarrass the Raiders. They exposed Vegas’ liabilities including their inability to make tackles, stay ahead of the chains with the run game and push the ball downfield. Vegas has not been playing Raiders football all season.

Reports said the team had a clearing to talk about the season. The players were able to share any grievances they had as far as scheme, personnel, etc. Key players and guys throughout the roster spoke up.

Hopefully, it makes a difference. Head coach Josh McDaniels is rightfully criticized for blowing big leads, not putting up enough points and losing to bad teams. The Raiders need to come out with some urgency on Monday Night.

The Detroit Lions are also off a bad loss to the Ravens. Jared Goff is top ten in passing, Amon-Ra St. Brown is top ten in catches and top 15 in yards. He is expected to play versus the Raiders. This team should come out looking for blood at home.

Corner Jerry Jacobs has three interceptions for the Lions defense. Aiden Hutchinson has 4.5 sacks and can give the Raiders offensive line issues. Detroit’s defense should be looking to get back on track after giving 35+ points to a Ravens offense that looked lost early this season.

The Raiders will have Jimmy Garoppolo back from his back injury. Garoppolo is great at getting the ball out quick to avoid sacks. However, Vegas needs to take some chances and push the ball downfield. The Raiders have too many weapons to not convert a play for more than 20 yards, again.

Of course, it all starts upfront. Vegas needs to create some lanes for Josh Jacobs. An effective Jacobs keeps the offense ahead of the chains. It also gives the play calling more flexibility to take shots downfield. Look for Adams to make a big play with Garoppolo back.

Plus, it will keep that explosive Lions defense on the sideline. Detroit also has a couple of tight ends that can give the Raiders problems. Jahmyr Gibbs is explosive and should be a problem for the Raiders to tackle too.

Speaking of defense, Vegas needs Marcus Peters to play more inspired. Everyone was making jokes about his tackling but I think he may do better in the nickel where he can roam a bit more.

Otherwise, the defensive backs have been solid and helped the team stay in games. They will get tested this week though versus Brown and a slew of other explosive weapons.

Raiders rookie edge Tyree Wilson finally got into the sack category versus the Bears. Vegas can not get enough pass rush. Maxx Crosby needs helps and Wilson needs to provide that sooner than later given the injuries and absence of Chandler Jones. Wilson can easily become this team’s x-factor if he can find a way to consistently get after the passer.

Crosby took some lumps in the run game particularly early. Expect the Lions to add some misdirection and trickery to their gameplan. They will try to keep Crosby guessing as well as keep Wilson on his heels. Regardless, the Raiders could also use some push from their interior defense.

In the end, the Raiders need to find their identity. It’s been tough with their quarterback missing time in 3-4 games, which is half of the season to this point. It’s also hard when their offensive line is mid, their running back missed camp and they haven’t been able to get the ball to their best players.

If the Raiders can control the clock with their run game, convert a couple of big plays, sack the quarterback and tackle, they have a chance. Coming out like they did in Chicago though, will only result in another terrible loss.

The game may also come down to special teams. Vegas needs the kicking game to be perfect. No missed conversions or bad punts.

Vegas is only a game under .500. A win here would give them one more than the Chargers. Things get a little murkier considering Denver beat Kansas City this week. Denver also has three wins so a loss here would put the Raiders right next to them in the AFC West.

A win here would also give Vegas some momentum headed into winnable games versus the New York Giants and Jets over the next two weeks. Nobody is expecting much from Vegas versus Detroit but the Raiders won the last time they were counted out on the road in Monday Night.

On one hand, the Raiders are a couple of plays away from being 5-2. On the other hand, all three of their wins were by one score. The other two games were blowouts. We’ll have a better idea of who this team is after this game, especially since they will basically have played half a season by the game’s end.

What Raiders team will show up Monday? It’s time to play Raiders football and Just Win Baby!

Raiders Vs Chicago: Keys to dominance and lessons from the Pats

The Raiders haven’t won in Chicago since I was a kid. Still, they will take on a Bears team that has seen better days.

Chicago will be without their top quarterback and two top running backs. The Bears are 1-5 including losses to the lowly Vikings and Broncos.

Bears edge Yannick Ngakoue is the Bears most formidable pass rusher. He also has beef with the Raiders since they traded him and signed Chandler Jones. Ngakoue was hurt last year when the Raiders faced him and the Colts. Expect him to try and get a sack.

Andrew Billings is another former Raiders defensive lineman who will be looking to eat up some blocks. Justin Jones and DeMarcus Walker are also some AFC West who know the Raiders well.

Otherwise, much of the Raiders talk has been about the receivers. Hunter Renfrow is reportedly on the block. Davante Adams has been unhappy with his role. This is the game where the Raiders need to spread the ball around and get everyone involved. Vegas needs to get the ball out to their playmakers early and often.

Josh Jacobs is also looking for his first 100 yard rushing game of the season. Jacobs can help the Raiders control the clock. That will be extra important with Brian Hoyer expected to make the start for the Raiders. Hoyer needs great play from his offensive line, running back and receivers.

Jacobs and rookie tight end Michael Meyer will have a challenge with Tremaine Edmunds roaming the middle of the field. His combination of size and speed could take away some of the middle of the field.

Ultimately, Vegas should come out with their third consecutive win. They will take on rookie Tyson Bagent. Bagent went to Shepherd but he can throw the ball around. Still, there should be some turnover opportunities for the Raiders. Marcus Peters is still looking for his first pick in Silver and Black. Trevon Moehrig has two interceptions this year, which is more than his entire careee. Let’s see if he can get another one.

The Raiders should also get opportunities to rush the passer. Chicago is starting a rookie right tackle and down their starting right guard. Max Crosby should eat today. The defensive line should run some stunts to confuse the young signal caller, back and line.

If Vegas can control the line of scrimmage with their run game and get the ball to their playmakers, there is no reason why they shouldn’t control this game. That should setup the defense to play extra aggressive versus a rookie quarterback trying to play catch-up. The Raiders once again need to look to run the ball first, push the ball down the field and make plays on defense. They will be without their starting QB but they do not need to get cute to pull out this victory in Chicago.

The Raiders didn’t look great versus the Patriots and they had their starting QB at least at the beginning of the game. They made just enough plays on the defensive line and with Moehrig’s interception. However, they were really close to losing that game and almost gave Zeke his biggest play of the season.

Moreover, the Raiders stuck with the running game by giving Jacobs 25 carries. Yet, he barely averaged 3 yards a carry. Either way, it’s always great to beat New England.

This week the Raiders offensive line needs to create more of a surge for the running back this week. It will also help if Jacobs can bust a big run.

Ultimately, the Raiders need to beat Chicago before they take on the Detroit Lions next week. Detroit has a great offense, an explosive runner and elite pass rusher. That’s enough to give the Raiders problems, especially if their quarterback is still out next week.

Regardless, the Raiders need to tune up versus the Bears. Don’t overlook Chicago. They need to win this game and look good doing it. That will give them great confidence a record above .500 headed into Detroit.

Raiders Vs Patriots: Lessons from beating the Packers, Trade Rumors and How To Not Disappoint

The Raiders won with their defense making big plays over the Green Bay Packers. Vegas linebacker Robert Spillane came up with two interceptions. The second interception was setup by a Crosby sack followed by a Peters breakup that Spillane caught.

Amik Robertson made a beautiful pick off of Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love to save the game. Las Vegas had missed a field goal that would’ve given them a full touchdown lead. It felt like we were headed toward another heartbreak until that Robertson interception.

Still, the Raiders offense needs to do more. They stuck with Josh Jacobs and the running game more versus Green Bay. However, the Raiders line did not really have an answer for Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and company upfront. Not only were they stout against the run but that big three each had a sack. Jacobs scored but averaged less than four yards a carry with 20 attempts.

Jimmy Garoppolo made some plays including a TD pass to Jakobi Meyers. However, he also threw an interception early. Michael Meyer and Davante Adams each caught passes for over 20 yards. Yet, neither have been consistent threats as expected.

Adams needs the ball more as the alpha pass catcher. Hunter Renfrow doesn’t even have 100 receiving yards this whole season. He hasn’t even missed one game. Vegas would not have beat the Packers without forcing three turnovers. It’s still a great win considering nobody expected much from the Raiders.

Rumor Time

Now, rumors surfaced that the Raiders are looking for a pass rusher and/or shopping Renfrow on the Trade Block. There’s not a lot out there in free agency on the edge.

Frank Clark was just released from the Broncos. He knows the AFC West well from his Chiefs days but I honestly think he’ll look at a team higher in the standings.

Otherwise, it’s mostly veterans like Carlos Dunlap, Robert Quinn and Jason Pierre-Paul that are available. Those guys are also trying to stay in the league despite age and injuries. Anthony Barr is probably the best hybrid linebacker/edge player available who just turned 30. Although, I’m not sure he fits the role the Raiders want opposite Maxx Crosby though.

After that, Vegas has to look at the trade block. Vikings edge Danielle Hunter and Commanders Edge Chase Young are the biggest names that have been on and off the block the last year. Young finally looks like he has bounced back from injury with three sacks this year. His contract is up but he could be pricey. Hunter also had his own contract issues this offseason but that did not stop him from registering six sacks this year. Hunter is about to turn 30 but he has 77 career sacks in 107 games.

It’s unclear if the Raiders would really be willing to give up the draft capital to get that quality of an edge rusher. Even if they added in Renfrow and one of their extra defensive backs, they would probably still have to give up at least a first or second round pick.

New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams could probably be had for a bit cheaper given how bad their season is going. Williams knows defensive coordinator Patrick Graham but he’s only had 9.5 sacks through his last 34 games, including just .5 sacks this year. We’ve always wanted Williams to be a Raider and he would be an upgrade over what the Raiders have inside. He may still have some ability to flex outside.

Either way, it would not hurt for the Raiders to add some defensive line help. That way they could develop Tyree Wilson a bit more. He might even benefit from less playing time and more quality situations where he can thrive.

No Let Downs

This week the Raiders take on a Patriots team that is not playing well. There are rumors about a coaching change. The quarterback situation is a mess. Their top two running backs have both struggled in their own ways. New England’s defense has had serious injuries.

New England started their season with two one-possession losses to the Eagles and Dolphins. They beat the Jets. Then, they had two huge losses. One versus the Cowboys and a shutout versus the Saints last week. This team will come into Vegas desperate for a win.

All eyes are on quarterback Mac Jones. Patriots running back Rhamondre Stephenson is also coming back to his hometown. Last year, the duo had the game spoiled by a Chandler Jones pick-six at the end of the game.

Jakobi Meyers caused that turnover in the game last year and he is now with the Raiders. Meyers has been Garoppolo’s favorite target when the two play. Expect the defense to key on him.

It should not matter though. The Raiders need to exert their will if they want to put away this Patriots team that is fighting for an identity and their season. Outside of some defensive backs you’ve heard of, the Patriots defense is filled with average players. Vegas needs a bounce back game from their offensive line. They also need to help Josh Jacobs finally have a breakout game.

Moreover, this defense needs to keep creating turnovers. Crosby needs help from his peers as far as pressure the quarterback. The secondary needs to keep creating turnovers.

If Vegas can run the ball, push the ball downfield and make some turnovers they should win easily. Moreover, they’ll be that much closer to establishing and identity. Then, they go into Chicago versus a struggling Bears team. Vegas could easily string together three-straight wins. Then they’re looking at being above .500 when they take on a Detroit Lions team that is playing well.

Either way, Vegas must win this week and get to the .500 mark before we can even talk about momentum. A win versus the Patriots would give the Raiders an even bigger lead over the Denver Broncos in the division. It would also help them keep pace with the Chargers.

Moreover, it’s always great to beat the Pats. You can’t tell me Josh McDaniels doesn’t want to beat his old boss. And I’m sure GM Dave Ziegler wouldn’t mind sticking it to the organization that groomed him. Plus, I’m not sure there is a better ending for Bill Belichick than losing to his guys.

Raiders vs Chargers: Lessons from Week 3 and How to Avoid Losing at SoFi again

The Raiders need to make some turnovers this week. They threw three interceptions and allowed four sacks. Vegas’ offensive line failed their first real test of the season.

There’s a lot of talk about Josh McDaniels’ choice to take points late in the fourth instead of trying to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion. However, the real tragedy is how the Raiders gave up the ball. They are not a team that can afford that many turnovers. Plus, if Kenny Pickett tore up the Raiders wait til Justin Herbert gets his hands on us. We have not beat Herbert at SoFi.

The Raiders defense was sound against the run versus Pittsburgh. They get a hobbled Chargers rushing attack that is down their starting back. Los Angeles’ interior line hasn’t looked great either this year.

Still, the Raiders pass defense took some lumps versus Pittsburgh but a turnover or two could have helped them overcome some of those failed big conversions. Yet, Maxx Crosby once again was the only player to consistently get home and disrupt the Steelers offense.

Nonetheless, Josh Jacobs and the running attack were not much more effective versus the Steelers. Jacobs continues to cut and dodge his way but he needs more push from his interior offensive line. Some added push on those double teams will make Jacobs’ life easier. Not to mention, the Raiders can avoid some of the lapses in blitz pickup by avoiding obvious passing downs with more rushing yards on the first two downs.

Vegas will get another tough challenge at the edge this week. They can’t afford lapses in blitz pickup. Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor can both get beat by speed to power.

The Los Angeles Chargers will not be at full strength. Edge Joey Bosa didn’t practice all week. Running back Austin Ekeler and Derwin James are out. Receiver Mike Williams is done for the year. This franchise is gratefully more tragic than ours.

Raiders defensive Back Nate Hobbs, quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo and edge Maxx Crosby are all questionable. My guess is the two defensive players go and the QB sits out. Garoppolo has been in concussion protocol all week. Vegas needs Crosby to play because he is the team’s only reliable pass rusher. Both teams have key players missing practice.

Even without Williams, Los Angeles can throw for 300 passing yards. Bolts quarterback Justin Herbert has played progressively better this season. Herbert threw for over 400 yards versus the Dolphins and hasn’t even thrown an interception this year.

On offense, the Chargers rank in the top five for passing yards. The Raiders’ improved defensive backfield must create a turnover this week. This will help them overcome any big plays they allow to an explosive aerial attack. Stopping the Chargers pass attack is a lot harder to do without Crosby applying consistent pressure. Los Angeles is not strong on the right side of the offensive line. Vegas must exploit them. Of course it would be great to have a healthy and sane Chandler Jones in the mix. However, he was finally let go after an arrest topped some weird public behavior that Jones began exhibiting online.

Defensively, the Chargers have allowed the most passing yards. Vegas is closer to the middle of the pack in passing yards but that should change after this game. The Raiders have to attack the middle and deep parts of the field with James out for L.A.

Los Angeles still has former Raiders edge Khalil Mack. He has yet to get into the sack column but that could change this week. Rookie Tuli Tuipulotu has two sacks. Those two could play more together with Bosa expected to miss. That’s enough explosiveness and bend to give the Raiders’ tackles some problems. Double the trouble if Jimmy G. does not end up playing as expected. Garoppolo is pretty good at avoiding sacks by dumping the ball out.

Even without Ekeler for two games, the Chargers are in the middle of the pack for rushing yards. Vegas is in the bottom ten for rushing yards allowed per game. Joshua Kelley is not exactly consistent but he brings some burst out of the Bolts’ backfield.

There is no reason the Raiders should be last in rushing yards. The Chargers are in the middle of the pack in yards given up on the ground this season. However, some of that could be attributed to the back forth nature of their games. Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray looks better this year and they added Eric Kendricks to help them sure up the run. Kendricks may miss this game. Either way, Vegas should be able to run the ball.

Vegas should also receive another home field advantage at SoFi. Although, they need to do something with it. The team has yet to secure a regular season win versus the Rams or Chargers at SoFi. Not to mention, a win for either team cements second place on the AFC West. Plus, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is playing for his job the way the media talks.

Nobody should be surprised if the Raiders lose this game. Los Angeles is a couple of plays in close games away from being 3-0. Both teams are hobbled but the Chargers have looked more explosive than Vegas.

The Raiders will also be without their starting signal caller. Meanwhile, L.A. is down two of their impact defensive players and several key offensive weapons. Overall, the Chargers might be a bit more desperate due to their coach being on the hot seat. Then again, Vegas should be just as desperate based off how Davante Adams sounded fed up after last week’s loss.

Regardless, the Raiders will be starting a rookie quarterback. They like how Aiden O’Connell can push the ball down field versus veteran Brian Hoyer. Adams has been effective even when the offense hasn’t been effective. They should get him the ball again early and often.

Vegas needs to establish the run game. Adams and his rookie QB will have more opportunities for big shots if the offense can stay ahead of the chains. This Chargers defense can easily get carved up on the ground and through the air.

On defense, the Raiders need someone else besides Crosby to make a play. Rookie Tyree Wilson looked more comfortable last week. He is getting closer to making some plays but he needs to get home. Either way, a turnover is necessary from any part of the Raiders’ defense.

Vegas can win if they run the ball, convert a deep shot or two, protect the ball, rush the quarterback and create a turnover. They must play classic Raiders football. Otherwise, they could be looking at a tough loss in front of a home crowd in Los Angeles.

Raiders VS Steelers: Bills Recap and Keys to Beating Pittsburgh

The Raiders failed to stop the run or pass versus the Bills. Josh Allen barely missed a pass. James Cook surpassed 120 rushing yards on only 17 carries.

Vegas failed to do much on offense too. Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions. One was kind of when the game was out of reach. The first one was on a busted screen. Josh Jacobs finished the game with negative rushing yards on nine attempts. Jacobs was also the team’s second leading receiver with five catches for 51 rushing yards. This offense doesn’t move the same playing from behind.

The Blls overall had their way with the Raiders defense. Backup Buffalo runners Latavius Murray and Damien Harris combined for an additional 55 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The bright spot last week was the two sacks made by Raiders linebackers. Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo both got one sack last week. Those two players along with Maxx Crobsy, Marcus Epps and Nate Hobbs are among the Raiders best graded players, per PFF.

Vegas’ defensive line, outside of Crosby, is ranked terribly bad by PFF through two games. Overall, the Raiders defensive line got pushed around. Buffalo really controlled the game outside of the Raiders scoring first.

The offensive line earns solid PFF grades mostly due to their reliable pass blocking. Garoppolo has yet to be sacked this season. Some of that credit goes to Jimmy getting the ball out quick. Dylan Parham is the lowest graded starting offensive lineman currently. Collectively, the group could do more on thier double teams.

Now, the Silver and Black come home to face an old-time rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh stole one on Monday Night Football last week after Browns star runner Nick Chubb went down. Cleveland starting quarterback Deshaun Watson failed to carry his team to victory late in the game.

The Browns should have won that game but the biggest difference maker was the Pittsburgh pass rush. They sacked Watson six times, including one sack from sta T.J. Watt. Markus Golden, Larry Ogunjobi, Demarvi Leal, Elijah Riley and Alex Highsmith all got sacks. Every Raiders offensive linemen is going to have their pass blocking put to the test. Vegas needs to keep their heads up to identify blitzes and stunts.

Pittsburgh has also failed to get Najee Harris going this season. He finished last week’s game with 43 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Some of that gets attributed to the team battling back from a deceit. Harris has 74 rushing yards on 16 attempts for the year. He did not do much on the ground last year but made an impact as a receiver out of the backfield.

Regardless, the Raiders can’t afford to let Harris get going early. Running back Jaylen Warren has also been a passing threat out of the backfield. Warren has 9 receptions for 78 yards. The Raiders linebackers must be on their toes.

The Raiders secondary will also get pushed. Pittsburgh receiver George Pickens scored a 71 yard receiving touchdown last week. Otherwise, he has 8 catches for 92 yards on the year. Across from him Allen Robinson had a solid week versus the 49ers the week before. Robinson has 7 receptions for 76 receiving yards and has found his role.

Pittsburgh allowed seven sacks already this season. Maxx Crosby and company need to pressure Kenny Pickett and keep him from getting comfortable. Pickett has also already thrown three interceptions this year too.

Vegas is still waiting for their first interception of the year. The secondary has been better than years past, but they need to help the offense out by getting a pick this week. Pickett likes to get the ball out quick so the Raiders pass rush needs to get to work early and often.

Any turnover would be huge for this Raiders defense. The Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane will take on the team he spent four seasons with before joining the Raiders. Corner Marcus Peters is on this team to create takeaways. Peters needs to get an interception asap. Safety Marcus Epps looked great last week but it would also be great to see him make a play on the ball.

Either way, the Raiders need to set the tone on offense. They need to get Josh Jacobs and the running game going. Pittsburgh has allowed the second most rushing yards this season. Getting Jacobs going will take the pressure of Garoppolo. He’s much better protecting a lead, instead of having to push the ball downfield.

Davante Adams has found ways to be effective despite the offense not really running through him. He has 12 receptions for 150 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Steelers are in the middle of the pack as far as pass defense.

There is not another player on the Steelers that can matchup with Adams. Plus, Jakobi Meyers should be back in the lineup. He and Jimmy G. had a natural chemistry. Hunter Renfrow made a play last week. Austin Hooper also made a couple of solid catches last week. That should open up things for Adams over the top.

Again, the Raiders secondary will get tested. However, they should get some more help from the pass rush. The Raiders defensive line must earn the right to rush the passer by stopping the run. Their interior defensive linemen need to play with more hands and better anchors. They can not get pushed around again this week.

A turnover would be great to help this unit gain some confidence. It will give the Raiders defense some added room for error too. Vegas is -4 in the turnover ratio already.

The Raiders will return to their home field for the first time this season. Still, it could be a hostile environment filled with Steelers fans. We never like losing to the Terrible Towel.

Vegas has the Los Angeles Chargers and Green Bay Packers coming up. Both could be really tough games that they might not be able to lose. Nobody wants to be 1-4.

Bottom line, the Raiders need a win. It’s far from a must win. However, a victory would do a lot to build some momentum and confidence for Vegas after such a bad loss. A win here should help the Raiders establish their identity, especially if they can establish the run and create some turnovers.

Raiders vs Bills 2023

It wasn’t pretty but the Raiders secured a season opening win and their seventh consecutive victory over the Broncos. Vegas also positioned themselves as the No. 1 team in the AFC West. The Chiefs and Chargers both took losses in Week One.

The Raiders offensive line didn’t look great. Denver held Josh Jacobs to less than 50 yards rushing for the day. Jacobs did break more tackles than any other running back last week so the performance can’t get blamed on his rust.

Nobody gave up a sack but some of that credit goes to Jimmy Garoppolo for getting the ball out. Denver did feature a top run defense last year. Except Vegas found ways to run the ball last year.

On defense, the line did secure two sacks of Russell Wilson. Raiders edge Tyree Wilson had some flashes including the first play of the game. Jerry Tillery registered a sack and flashed his hands, stunt and closing speed. Yet, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson also held onto the ball too long. Either way, it was nice to see some disruption beyond Maxx Crosby’s usual presence.

Vegas did get carved up in the run game. There were times the Raiders needed more anchor in the middle. Other times their ends got too far upfield. Some of that blame goes on the backers. They also got beat in coverage. Denver honestly should’ve stuck with the run more.

Nonetheless, the game came down to the Broncos missing a kick. They also did the Raiders a favor failing to convert an onside kick early. Special teams really helped Vegas edge that victory out.

Moving onto Week Two, the Raiders face a tougher challenge. They go on the road again, this time to the East Coast. Vegas faces a Buffalo Bills team that contended last year. However, they overwhelmed in the opener versus the Jets. Expect them to come out with an extra sense of urgency. Despite how bad they looked early, Buffalo only lost by a punt return in overtime. Plus, the Silver and Black don’t always travel to the east well.

The Raiders run game seems to be their biggest advantage this week. Buffalo’s most effective rusher was Josh Allen last week, The Silver and Black need to establish the run to again control the game. That will also keep Allen off the field.

They will also be without Jakobi Meyers who finished as the top receiver last week. Vegas needs to get Davante Adams more involved early. The run game should also take some burden off Adams. Weather shouldn’t impact the game as it will be warm with little wind.

Stefon Diggs loves the intermediate work. The Raiders safeties and corners must tackle well. Dawson Knox could also give the Raiders linebackers some work. Josh Allen did throw three interceptions a week ago. Vegas needs to force an interception this week. They did not do that versus the Broncos. Marcus Peters is on this roster to force turnovers.

Special teams could again be critical. The Raiders advantage in the kicking game should help.

Ultimately, the Raiders game plan should remain the same. Use the run game to keep the other offense off the field. Take advantage of good field position. The extra part this week is getting even more pressure and forcing a turnover on defense. It would not hurt if the offense can convert a big play too. That should pretty much be the Raiders blueprint most of the year.

Raiders Week One Quick Broncos Preview and 2023 Camp Column

Week one is here. Josh Jacobs is back. Jimmy G. And Davante Adams are healthy. The offensive line is intact and looks much more in sync than a year ago. Michael Mayer is off the mend. Hunter Renfrow is healthy too.

Josh Jacobs ended his holdout and signed his contract, even though it took them weeks for him to sign basically the same contract that was offered before camp. Nonetheless, the Raiders lead offensive weapon is back in Silver and Black for this season at least.

The defense got Tyree Wilson some snaps. Marcus Peters was finally signed. Maxx Crosby looks as good as ever. The defensive line also added a couple of rookie defensive tackles as well signed a new starting linebacker and safety.

Vegas has even more hope for this season than last. It’s year two of the coaching staff. No new system or regime excuses.

Of course, everything seemed a little too quiet for RaiderNation. Chandler Jones was locked out of the facility and couldn’t reach any of the figureheads. He took to social media where he unfollowed the team and key players. Jones also went on a social media rant. He won’t play in Week One, according to reports.

It’s unclear why this all happened. Some say he is getting cut or traded. That’s weird given his replacement Tyree Wilson has been hurt all offseason. It’s even more weird considering Jones restructured his deal and added some years to the end of it. Wilson had limited reps in camp and preseason. He looks like he still needs to knock some rust off before it is fair to expect anything from him.

Vegas was hoping for a bounce back year with Jones. He also could be a great mentor for Wilson. So far it looks like the social media was a big misunderstanding, but who really knows? There’s speculation Jones could’ve been going through it mentally.

Nonetheless, the Raiders do not have time to get off to a slow start. They have two division games in the first four games. Their other two matchups come against a contending Buffalo team and rising Steelers team.

They’ll also have the NFC North and the Patriots in the stretch after that. No one is really sure what to expect from those teams but the Raiders aren’t that much more of a sure thing either. Vegas oddsmakers have the Raiders around the 5-7 win-total mark.

If the Raiders hope to upset that, it begins once again with running the rock. Last year, they did a great job riding Josh Jacobs as the lead back early and often.

Now, the offensive line should improve with some increased continuity. Only Alex Bars was let go from last year’s starters. You won’t see any tears here because he was by far the weakest link. Expect the offensive line to have improved push, particularly on the double teams.

Of course, Jacobs may or may not be in full form due to missing camp. Vegas also relied on Zamir White and company more. We should see them sprinkle in more backs by committee. That should also preserve Jacobs and keep defenses on their toes.

Further, the biggest move the Raiders made was replacing Derek Carr at QB. Jimmy G. Is surrounded by even more weapons as the Raiders added Jakobi Meyers, Austin Hooper and Meyers. They also kept Hunter Renfrow, despite trading away Darren Waller.

The idea is that Jimmy G.’s playoff experience and decision making gets Vegas farther than Carr every did. However, I think that will really come down to the strength of the defense. Garoppolo has always had a stout defense aiding his gameplay.

The good news is, Vegas added Marcus Peters to the secondary. He’s a high level playmaker and plays the game with a high IQ. Peters is among the interception leaders since he entered the league. Vegas has not had a player that can create turnovers like that in awhile.

Moreover, the Secondary as a whole is looking a lot stronger. Nate Hobbs is healthy and the team signed Michael Epps fresh off a Super Bowl appearance with the Eagles. Trevon Moehrig is looking better after taking a step back last year. Rookie Jakorian Bennett and Chris Smith add some needed youth to the group. They also retained Brandon Facyson and David Lang for some veteran DB help. Amik Robertson could also help out at safety and corner.

Vegas’ biggest weakness is clearly the defense. There is a lot of talk about Devine DeAblo’s ascension into the starting linebacker role. He has battled injuries in the past. It remains to be seen what he can do. Robert Spillane is the other linebacker. He can be hit or miss. I’d still love to see them add more there. I’m not the biggest Luke Masterson or Amari Burney fan, even if they are both young. Masterson doesn’t have the coverage skills to stay on the field and Burney is super raw.

The defensive line will once again be anchored by Maxx Crosby. Bilal Nichols and Jerry Tillery were brought back after flashes last year. They both give the front some scheme flexibility. I think this group should be great getting off the ball. I just hope they can help out Crosby versus the pass and their linebackers in the run. Jones and Wilson should be an upgrade over Jones and Ferrell last year. Wilson has a lot more upside than Ferrell due to raw talent and tools. However, Wilson is probably even less developed than Ferrell.

If the defense can get after the passer and the secondary can convert some turnovers the Raiders should have a chance on every game. If they can’t stop the run though, they won’t be able to pound the ball and control the clock as easily as they would like. You have to earn the right to rush the passer by handling business versus the run on the first two downs.

Furthermore, Jimmy G. Has to be great on third down. Hopefully he’s healthy and not afraid to step up and scramble for a first down, unlike ghosts of Raiders past. It’s both a blessing and a curse that Jimmy G. Is not the deep ball thrower that Carr is. Yes, that means less highlight deep passes down field. It also means less cringe-worth sacks or dump off passes for no game. Garoppolo has to get the ball out quick so his playmakers can create big plays if they are not going to push the down the field.

All this is much easier when the Raiders have got starts and leads to sit on. It’s easy to sink and dunk when you come out with rhythms and execute. It’s easy to keep running the ball when you’re ahead on the scoreboard. It’s easier to sack the quarterback or jump routes for picks when opposing teams are playing catch-up. Therefore, this defense is really going to rely on the offense to put them in winning positions. Moreover, I think the offense will be better at capitalizing on field position and converting drives into points. The Raiders long struggled in the red zone under Carr. Converting in the red zone is Jimmy G.’s quickest path to showing he is an upgrade over Carr.

Vegas has a chance if the Raiders offensive line can continue the momentum it built last year and someone other than Crosby steps up in the pass rush. Strong trench play will be critical to the Raiders success, particularly early in the season.

Denver offers a strong matchup. The Broncos are a three-point favorite over the Raiders today. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton will give the Raiders’ rebuilt secondary a real test. The pass rush will be critical to helping the Raiders get the Broncos’ quick passing attack contained. The Denver offensive line improved by adding Mike McGlinchey at right tackle. They also added Ben Powers at guard. Lloyd Cushenberry and Garrett Bolles are both still there. There’s a lot of draft and free agency resources invested in the Denver offensive line.

On defense, Denver added defensive lineman Zach Allen. Overall, the Raiders have a good chance to establish themselves versus a rebuilt veteran defensive line in Denver. Dominating the Broncos defensive line would really help the Raiders start strong.

Either way, nobody wants to 0-1. There’s a lot of reasons to not have hope this season but there’s also just as many reasons the Raiders could have a great season. Vegas just needs to execute. Of course, we’ve been saying that the last 20 years. The losing has to stop. It is time the Raiders get back to excellence.

Shout out to Tom Brady who looks like he was always meant to wear Silver and Black. Brady always beat Manning, who has ties to the Broncos organization. Let’s hope the Raiders keep their streak versus the Broncos going.