Raiders fans don’t have a lot to be thankful for this year, given their overall record and playoff prospects.
Nonetheless, they should be thankful for the Broncos. Not only did the Raiders sweep the Broncos for the third year, but Denver is the only team more underwhelming than the Raiders.
Denver leveraged picks for a quarterback formerly known as Russell Wilson. These days Wilson looks far from the franchise guy he was in Seattle. The Broncos also traded a budding defensive star to the Dolphins before the trade deadlin. Thank God for those Donkeys.
Raider Nation should also be grateful for Maxx Crosby. The Raiders defensive player looks like one of the best players at his position this year. Previously, he ran cold in big moments or team run games would wear him down. Now, he’s converting those pressures and hurries into sacks. Crosby is playing more discipline versus the run and finding ways to impact games in big moments. Look at that blocked field goal and all the deflected passes.
Josh Jacobs and DaVante Adams are the other reasons for gratitude this offseason. Jacobs has also taken another step. He is running harder than we have ever seen. Jacobs is being more strategic with the hits he takes too. Unfortunately, the Raiders lead runner is in a contract year and his days in Vegas may be numbered. Even more reason to appreciate him the rest of this season.
Meanwhile, Adams is by far the best receiver the Silver and Black have seen. Like Crosby, Adams is also under contract for more than this season. We have to be thankful to have these two alpha players on our roster.
Onward to the Seahawks
This an old school AFC West rivalry. The Seahawks were suppossed to take steps back this year but legendary coach Pete Carroll has this team playing well. Shoutout to former Raiders Shelby Harris, Bruce Irvin, Quinton Jefferson, Tanner Muse and Gabe Jackson on the Seahawks roster.
Seattle is young and led by Geno Smith but don’t let that fool you. They bring size and speed outside. The Seahawks are ranked right behind the Raiders in passing yards this year. Seattle is 16th in rushing yards. Kenneth Walker is shifty enough to give the Raiders some problems out of the backfield.
Vegas must play discipline. Don’t give up any big penalties. Do their best to limit big plays down the field from Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. All of that is easier to do if the Raiders offense controls the clock and stays on the field. The Vegas defense wears down after so many three-and-outs or series beginning with bad field position. Hopefully, Nate Hobbs is back to lend some help in the secondary too.
The Raiders still rank in the bottom for sacks and interceptions. Seattle has young offensive tackles and an athletic interior offensive line. Vegas needs to keep their d-line rotation tight. Chandler Jones needs to get a sack and impact this game.
Clelin Ferrell is on the d-line during some of the Raiders best plays. Even if he doesn’t get home, he helps setup his teammates. Also hoping Jerry Tillery can start taking some snaps from Bilal Nichols. Nichols is a decent pass rusher but not great against the run. Overall, the Raiders defensive line needs to use their size and length to stalemate their blockers and free up the Raiders LB for tackles.
Defensively, Seattle is 14th in sacks with 27 for the year. They’re 20th in picks with only 7 for the year. Seattle’s defense also allows the 13th most passing yards but the 25th most rushing yards.
Vegas must exploit the Seahawks run defense early and often. Derek Carr is a much better quarterback when he doesn’t have to force things on third and long. None of the Seahawks corners should matchup with Davante Adams. That means the Raiders must take what they want on offense.
Vegas gets Kolton Miller back after he missed last week. Miller’s presence was missed on pass downs especially. They will need him versus the speed the Seahawks bring off the edge.
If the Raiders offense can put together drives that will take some pressure of the Vegas defense. A few weeks ago, Tampa Bay limited the Seahawks run game and ended their four game win streak. The pressure will be on the Raiders defense to stop the run, limit big plays and get after the quarterback.
Unfortunately, we have yet to see the Raiders offense and defense get in sync. Every game it seems like one makes plays when the other does not, then vice versa. They can’t afford that against a young and well coached team playing for a playoff spot in a loaded NFC. Seattle finds ways to hang in games. The Seahawks make just enough wins to pull out close games and shootouts.
This is a winnable game for the Raiders but they have to execute over four quarters. Something they have yet to do versus anyone besides the Broncos.
Putting together a road win over the Seahawks should give this team an ounce of hope. They have yet to show the can put together consecutive wins. Doing that versus a playoff contender should give the team something to build on towards more victories. That should also help Josh McDaniels build some mojo. Just Win Baby!