Raiders Rants: No Let Down Vs K.C., How to Beat the Falcons and more.

Last week’s Sunday Night Football loss to the Chiefs was hardly a setback. The Raiders fought hard, down four starters and limited practice time due to COVID.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not sure Cory Littleton, Clelin Ferrell or any one else prevents the Chiefs from carving up the Raiders on that last drive. Still, they fought hard and competed versus a rival and the reigning champs.

There were some bright spots like the hobbled offensive line not giving up a sack. Las Vegas also spread the ball around through the air. Agholor and Waller continue leading the team as pass catchers.

It would have been nice to see them stick with the running game a bit more. Their defense also got another int versus Mahomes. Shoutout to Trayvon Mullen.

Still, they gave up over 100 rushing yards. Both Tye Hill and Travis Kelce caught over 100 yards. They did not get a sack on Mahomes either. Considering all that, it’s hard to believe the Raiders were a few moments from winning the games.

This week they play an Atlanta Falcons team that is better than their record indicates. They’ve lost a few close ones and blown a few big leads. Gruden called Atlanta the best 3-7 team he has seen. The Falcoons have a win and a loss to Carolina, a loss to the Saints and a win over the Broncos. The Raiders beat all three of those common opponents.

A loss last week was not a setback as the Raiders still hold playoff position in the seventh seed. That could easily change with a loss to the Falcons as their are seven teams at 6-4 or 7-3 with Vegas.

The Silver and Black can’t afford to give the Falcons any rhythm on offense. Atlanta will be down Todd Gurley and could also be without Julio Jones and TE Hayden Hurst. On defense, the Falcons could be down Dante Fowler Jr.

That offense down those pass catchers is good for the Raiders considering last week’s safety play. Erik Harris could also miss this game while Ferrell is expected to return. Cough, sign Earl Thomas.

Either way, the Raiders need to continue establishing their identity as an offense that can pound the ball and convert big plays on third downs and carry that into the red zone. All that starts up front with the offensive line which continues to play at a high level down bodies.

Defensively, they got to find ways to take the ball away and make plays on the QB. It’s good this group is playing physical and fast, especially versus a juggernaut like the Chiefs. However, it does little good if they keep getting carved up in the pass and run.

Swagger is great until you give up a game winning TD. Their hodgepodge secondary of veterans and young players needs to keep working through their lumps. As up and down as they are in the back end, the pass rush could do them more favors this week if Ferrell plays.

This week, the team signed two players on the right side of thirty who know the Falcons. Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley both teetered on draft bust before leaving Atlanta via free agency this offseason and the waiver wire. McKinley heads to injured reserve where they hope they can stash him. Beasley might not be active this week.

Nonetheless, I hope the Raiders got some defensive intel and play calls from the guys who were once supposed to be book ends for the team. The first round picks flashed potential in Atlanta but neither put together the consistency expect. Still, Las Vegas needs that top end athleticism in their front seven. Both guys are scheme versatile and should push for playing time once they are healthy. Beasley was a big part of the Falcons Super Bowl run a few years ago too.

The moves are good for the short term this week as the front seven is not playing well. It is also good for the long term if they redeem their careers. It’s the Raiders efforts to take a chance to get better that excites me. They aren’t just resting on their Chiefs win, overall record or playoff standing. Maxx Crosby needs help on the edge. He is a really good player but he can’t do it alone.

Ultimately, a win this week should be expected but that does not mean it will be easy. Atlanta has little to play for besides blowing up team’s playoff hopes. They can’t exactly do that to Vegas right now. However, the Raiders need to stay full steam ahead as they move through winnable games if they really want to contend. They need this win over Atlanta and next week against the Jets. Both games could be challenges on East Coast time zone alone. Then, they got games versus the Colts and Dolphins which could be important to playoff seeding. Plus, tough division games versus the Chargers and Broncos.

Still, you got to win this week by limiting big plays, stopping the run, rushing the passer and executing the game plan on offense. This is a tune up game but that does not mean we make it a let it down game after a tough loss versus Kansas City. Good teams don’t lose games back-to-back, especially versus teams with worst records.

Just Win Baby!

Playing with The House’s Money on Sunday Night

All division wins feel great but especially a 20+ point victory over the Broncos. It was exactly the dominating win the Raiders need as they rally confidence and winning experience en route to the playoffs. Defensively and offensively, the Raiders looked like a team focused and not distracted by COVID or Denver’s record.

Now, the Raiders will try and stretch their undefeated division record with another game versus the AfC West rivals Chiefs. We now know a lot more about this team since these two last played.

The Raiders proved they did not just get lucky by beating a playoff contending Browns team and two arch rivals. Kansas City continued finding ways to win and add some talent. This matchup is under the Sunday lights.

At this point, the Raiders are playing with the house’s money. The last victory versus Kansas City was the biggest regular season win since the Tay Train on Thursday Night. They proved themselves against the rest of the division. However, every loss counts in the tough AFC Wild Card race. The Chiefs are playing for that solo bye and a chance to redeem their only loss.

Good news, seven of the 10 players from the COVID list this week should play. Many of them starters on defense. The bad news, limited practice time before a game against Mahomes is not advised.

Still, the formula is not changing much. Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker should see a lot of work. The goal is to stay in front of the chains, keep the clock running and control the game away from the Chief’s offense.

Las Vegas continues flashing big play ability but they are still not ready to shoot it out with the Chiefs. They need a strong running performance to open up the play action. Derek Carr continues playing well on third down which should help the Silver and Black maintain long drives. Kolton Miller should return which will help both the run and pass game.

Defensively, the Raiders line looked improved since that first Chiefs game. Nonethless, Crosby can’t be the only threat to get home and sack the quarterback. Maurice Hurst could return this game which gives the Raiders back their best interior rusher.

It also won’t help being down Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell is the Raiders best edge versus the run, he slides inside and played well versus the Chiefs. Carl Nassib and Arden Key will both need to step up. Key doesn’t have a sack this year and Nassib only has 1.5.

The Raiders are also down Cory Littleton. That won’t help them cover the Chiefs dynamic pass catchers at TE or RB. The x-factors are the safeties. Let’s see if the Jeff Heath hype is real.

When the Raiders are good, it’s cause their secondary plays well. The corners get Damon Arnette for this game. He missed the last game and they can use his speed versus the Chiefs.

Ultimately, the Raiders will need 100 rushing yards, a turnover and a big play from their receivers. They can get that and a strong showing from Carr and still lose though. That’s how talented the defensing Champion Chiefs are.

Considering our record and standing in the West, I wouldn’t be mad at a loss. Obviously, another win versus the Chiefs makes a huge statement for the entire league. Either way, playing well on one of the league’s grandest stages is enough given all the adversity this team is facing due to COVID.

PS Takk McKinley is free again. Maybe the Raiders can add him to their defense assuming he passes a physical.

Raiders vs Broncos: Vegas Chapter One

Imagine the Raiders added an explosive pass rusher with first round athleticism and scheme versatility via the waiver wire?

That’s what Raiders fans hoped for when rumors circulated that the team put in a claim for Takk McKinley who got waived by the Falcons. Instead, the UCLA alum got picked up by the Bengals, a team he trolled.

McKinley only registered one sack this year and 17.5 sacks since 2017. However, he would’ve been a nice compliment to a Raiders defensive line that is already playing solid after two sacks last week versus the Chargers.

Shout out to Carl Nassib for finally living up to those free agency expectations. Crosby is also finding a way to get home again with better play from his supporting cast.

Ultimately, the game came down to the final play. Los Angeles basically won the game before the booth overturned a touchdown catch. They were down Joey Bosa and we were down Trent Brown so that is a wash.

All AFC West games come down to the last second and the Chargers are going to find ways to be the Chargers. You almost feel bad for a team that could have a much better record if they could just finish games. But than again, fuck the Bolts.

Anyways, the Raiders will play another AFC West rival this week. They take another historic NFL rivalry to new heights in a new market as Denver travels to Vegas.

Much like the Chargers, the Broncos are a young team with their fair share of injuries. Von Miller and Jurrell Casey would’ve been a scary as duo but both have been out. The only common victory these teams share is close wins over the Chargers.

Last week, the Raiders receivers again flashed big-play ability. The scary thing about the Las Vegas offense is it feels like they can win grounding out victories or throwing the ball across the field.

Trent Brown will be out again so Sam Young will need to keep being solid at right tackle. The Raiders are back at home so they should flash some passing explosion. My Fanduel circled Darren Waller’s matchup too.

Offensively, Denver is a bit more scary. They feature two backs who can carve up the Silver and Black with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay. Jonathan Hankins needs to be stout and can we please get some better angles from Cory Littleton?

Never mind, Littleton is out. That means Noah Fant could have a big game as the Raiders still can struggle versus tight ends with his athleticism down Littleton. We also can’t forget Jerry Jeudy who Jon Gruden complimented this week. K.j. Hamler has speed that could give the Raiders problems.

Thus, it will come down to pressuring quarterback Drew Lock. I am still not sure if Lock is good or bad. He’s up and down in a limited sample size. The Raiders can’t give him any confidence or rhythm. Disrupt this young QB all damn day.

A turnover or two would be nice for the Raiders defense’s confidence. You never want to overlook a division opponent but if the Raiders are serious playoff contenders they will show out today.

Winning against the Broncos would give the Raiders a win against each division opponent. I can’t remember the last time any of us could talk shit to all three AFC West division opponents. Plus, the Silver and Black play Kansas City next week a t home. You know the Chiefs will look for revenge.

Hopefully, the Raiders will be healthy with Littleton and Brown back. However, they are in the playoffs here and parlaying three division wins only gets us that much closer to cementing a playoff berth.

Right now, the Dolphins, Raiders, Titans, Colts and Browns all have three losses. One of those South Teams will get a division crown but the rest are fighting for two spots assuming Baltimore or Pittsburgh does not collapse in the second half of the season. .

Regardless, none of that matters if the Raiders do not handle business versus Denver first today. Let’s hope they not just win but make a statement in the process too. Just make the playoffs maybe? We still got a whole half a season where anything can happen.

Raiders and Chargers: The One With No Fans

This is the game many Los Angeles Raiders fans circled. The Raiders are in L.A. and opening SoFi without the thousands of fans that cheered them as they won a title for the city.

L.A.’s Chargers almost didn’t happen. That would’ve opened things up for a return of the Silver and Black without the Las Vegas title.

Well, that’s for another universe. These days the Bolts field a rookie sensation QB who might be better than the Raiders starter today. They’ve got an underrated defense even down Desmond King who they got rid of faster than a Sears sale.

Offensively, the Chargers bring a solid group of receivers and backs. The Raiders pass defense will be tested again. Herbert can also scramble when things break down. The DEs will need to be discipline when rushing the prototype.

Las Vegas needs to keep running the ball. They got back to that and squeezed out an ugly win in Cleveland. They will be tempted to shoot out with the Chargers in a dome but the Raiders are a run team.

The Silver and Black rush attack will be down Trent Brown. Brown adds aggression to the entire unit.

Vegas will also need a play from their receivers. Look for Nelson Agholor or Henry Ruggs to make a big play to answer the Chargers offense. They also need Darren Waller to help them convert in the end zone.

As for common opponents, the Chargers lost close ones to the Saints, Buccaneers and Chiefs. The Raiders beat 2 of the 3 as well as the Panthers who gave the Bolts an L.

This game could go either way much like most AFC West games. The Raiders should handle the Chargers if they are serious playoff contenders at the mid point. However, the Chargers are more talented than their record indicates. You definitely don’t want to overlook them or their high powered offense.

The Raiders are only favored by 1.5 points. This game will come down to which offense controls the clock best. The Raiders are set up for that.

A problem will arise if the Raiders get into a shootout, especially if Keenan Allen plays. Defensively, The Raiders don’t have the secondary to matchup with L.A. Another big game from the d-line could even the score.

Ultimately, the Raiders want to win all the AFC West battles. You don’t want to give the young Chargers any hope or confidence.

Raiders versus Browns 2020

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.

No More Bye Week Blues and Keys versus the Buccaneers

The Las Vegas Raiders entered week 6 with a well deserved bye after defeating their rivals the Kansas City Chiefs by eight points.

No one, including myself gave Vegas a realistic shot at beating the Chiefs. Kansas City was playing well and the Raiders were up and down. An emphasis on the down part in the second half.

Still, I am thankful I was wrong. Vegas became the first team to defeat Chiefs starting QB Pat Mahomes by more than a touchdowns.

Kudos to Derek Carr and Jon Gruden for leading this team out of a two-game slump. The team could’ve gone either way but a statement road win over the Super Bowl champs should give this team momentum. For as much credit as they get for the teams struggling offense in the second half of past games, they deserve credit for coming out swinging this time.

The Chiefs played hard too. They didn’t play their best but it was far from a let down. Andy Reid has totally owned the Raiders since coming to the AFC West. The weather also fell into favor for the Raiders and Carr.

It also helped getting Trent Brown and Henry Ruggs back. You see the instant impact Ruggs brings when opponents must respect his speed on deep routes and play actions. Brown also brings his own level of physicality to the run game.

The defensive line also had their best outing of the season. Maxx Crosby is the only one who got home but Clellin Ferrell and Mo Hurst both played well.

Now, the question is how do the Raiders return from the Bye. Their next game won’t be any slouch. They’ll face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off their own big win of the NFC favorite Green Bay Packers.

Tampa Bay beat the Panthers and lost to the Saints. The Raiders beat both those two common opponents.

Moreover, the Raiders can’t act like they made their season with one win over a division opponent. They still have five more division games including another one against Kansas City.

Again, it’s not about reinventing the wheel. The Raiders need to keep pushing the ball. Three receiver sets continue to work. Nelson Agholor continues to make big plays. Hunter Renefrow got his strike in. They will need those contributions along with Darren Waller’s consistency versus a Tampa defense that is good against the pass.

On defense, the Raiders need to continue finding ways to get sacks. They also could have problems with the Bucs multiple tight ends.

Added pressure from the front can disrupt Tom Brady. Otherwise, the Raiders could face a long day with all that size and speed Tampa offers on the outside.

The Buccaneers also have a loaded backfield. Ronald Jones has come on as the starter but Leonard Fournette will probably return to the mix this week. Fournette’s size and physicality factors in versus a Raiders defense that can struggle versus the run. Jones’ is a threat as a pass catcher and runner. He’s shifty and could make some Raiders miss.

Ultimately, the Raiders will need to continue controlling the clock with Josh Jacobs. That’s the easiest way to cool down this Tampa offense that is loaded with weapons. They’ll also need to keep taking deep shots to keep the defense honest.

Tampa’s offensive line is good too. They are top-10 in run and pass blocking. Still, the Raiders defensive line proved it could impact games versus a good offensive line a few weeks ago in Kansas City. They need to keep that momentum going.

The last thing anyone wants is a let down after the Bye Week and a big division win. The Silver and Black got two weeks to prepare for this game. They should come out executing at that level. They should also come out fired up to face Gruden’s former team on Sunday Night.

Taking the Chiefs Challenge

The mentor became the teacher last week. Josh Allen and Derek Carr are from the same region of California. Allen mentioned looking up to Carr and his older brother. However, it was Allen who was throwing strikes downfield.

It is Allen who went from laughing stock a few seasons ago to the postseason last year. It is Allen who has his Bills looking like a real playoff contender. The technique, mechanics and accuracy have all changed so much for Allen since coming to the league.

That’s not to say Carr was bad versus the Bills. He mixed his usual efficiency with a few good deep throws. One which got called back due to a penalty. Carr played well enough again but the defense continued to struggle.

We still don’t really know who the Raiders are. For the second week, they dropped a game to an AFC East team. Vegas looked solid in the first half of both games.

Yet, the Bills and Pats both pulled away in the second half. That’s the difference between a playoff team and a young team trying to be a playoff team. The Raiders haven’t been a second half team in decades. They need to find an identity that includes more aggressiveness and adjustments in the second.

Right now, they are resting on two wins versus the NFC South. Vegas’ defense was mediocre even in those contests. The offense is good but it is still leaving points on the board. That is not something you can afford when your team is young and your defense is mediocre on the best days.

The Champs Enter The Chat

Moving on to the Chiefs, the Raiders play their toughest division foe. Yes, you want to win every AFC West game and beat the hell out of your long-time rival.

However, is that really realistic? Are you making bets with your friends and family who are Chiefs faithful? Probably, not.

Our Silver and Black haven’t shown much versus the Chiefs in years past. They haven’t shown much to beat them this year, either. The Raiders pass rush and secondary are still lacking too much to disrupt Mahomes and cover all those weapons.

The Best Chance

Sure, the offense put together flashes. Their best chance is keeping the ball out of Mahomes’ hands by controlling the clock with Josh Jacobs and the run game. The run game should improve if Trent Brown and Henry Ruggs III end up playing. Both practiced this week and are listed as questionable.

What won’t help the Raiders is the Chiefs getting their best pass rusher Chris Jones back. Hopefully, Brown in the mix can help limit Jones. You can read more about the Raiders offensive line here.

The Raiders also need Ruggs to take the top off an aggressive Chiefs secondary. Vegas got some sparks from Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor last week. I want to see what they do with Ruggs back keeping people honest on deep routes and play action.

Carr won’t get any favors playing in Kansas City. We all know Carr does better in the Vegas home setting than in the cold at Arrowhead. The Chiefs are also one of the few teams allowing fans into game as they try and repeat as Champions this year. Carr has got to step up or Justin Herbert will surpass him as the second best quarterback in the AFC West.

A Hope

As for the Raiders defense, it all comes down to the defensive line again. The Raiders defensive scheme really relies on those front four causing disruption. Johnathan Hankins is strong against the run but we need more pressure from our tackles in the middle. Maliek Collins has not been as great as we hoped. It might be time to see Mo Hurst get even more snaps as he is the best interior rusher on the team. Clellin Ferrell moving inside should be causing more havoc too.

Our ends have been hit or miss both in the run and pass game. Ferrell is the most consistent versus both but he still needs to do more to get home to the quarterback. You can read more on the Raiders defensive line grades here.

Either way, it’s not the Raiders defensive line’s fault their backers are not filling. It is not the d-line’s fault the safeties are taking bad angles or if the corners get beat.

Regardless, the Raiders have limitations on their defense. The best way to neutralize this, especially versus a team like the Chiefs, is with your d-line finding another gear.

Keep It Competitive

Sure, the Raiders are over matched. That doesn’t matter. It’s the Chiefs. You got to find a way to win your division games, especially when you hate your rivals as much as we hate Kansas City.

Moreover, a win would really get the Raiders’ confidence on track headed into the Bye Week. It will give them a key win. We will also be one step closer to knowing if this team is a playoff team or just a young team who is competitive for one half a week, again.

Ultimately, we need this game to be competitive. It will catch the attention of every one if the Raiders surprise the Chiefs this week.

Plus, no one wants to get blown out by their division rival. That might happen versus Mahomes and a high powered offense. In that case, the Raiders have a Bye Week and more out of conference games to lick their wounds.

Point is, the Raiders don’t have much to lose. At the very least, I want them to take some chances and make some adjustments in the second half. Show something different. Do something surprising you haven’t done before this season. Bust out all the stops versus the juggernaut contender.

Don’t forget that Raiders swagger and heart. Just Win Baby! Don’t got out like no punks versus the Chiefs. Don’t quit even if the scoreboard isn’t in our favor.

Should we expect them to win? Probably not. But will we be cheering, praying and hoping? Fuck Yes! It’s a new chapter in one of the oldest rivalries written. Vegas Baby!

Raiders Versus Bills Preview

Las Vegas had a real chance at beating the Patriots. They left too many points on the board by not converting touchdowns in the redzones. Settling for field goals versus a well coached Patriots team is not the answer.

Still, the defense forced a turnover with Johnathan Abram’s interception. Maxx Crosby registered a couple of sacks. Josh Jacobs averaged over four yards a carry. Devonta Booker gained some big chunks. Derek Carr was efficient again with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a high completion percentage. The team missed their rookie receivers.

Either way, the Raiders went into the half with a momentum gaining score. They failed to build on that in the second half. Carr’s second TD also came with the game seemingly out of reach. New England had Sony Michel averaging over 10 yards a carry while Rex Burkhead tore up the Raiders from the backfield as a receiver and runner.

Meanwhile, Buffalo fought off a Los Angeles Rams comeback. The Bills were blowing out L.A. 21-3 in the first half. The Rams came back strong in the second half. They scored 29 to take the lead before Buffalo scored on the final and winning drive.

More On The Bills

Buffalo is 3-0 and looking like a real threat in the AFC East. Josh Allen is second in the league in passing yards as well as completing 70 percent of his passes. He has thrown 10 touchdowns to only one interception. PFF ranks him among the top QBs.

Receiver Stefon Diggs brought a new outside weapon to his team. He’s caught two TDs and two passes form ore than 25 yards. Cole Beasley and John Brown are also playing well. Their running game is also solid with Devin Singletary. The Raiders have their hands full again this week.

On defense, the Bills are strong on the edges with veterans Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy. Rookie A.J. Epenesa also registered his first sack. They are deep in the interior with Ed Oliver, Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler and Harrison Philips.

Buffalo’s secondary is among the best in the league too. Jordan Poyer is PFF’s top rated safety. Safety Micah Hyde, corner Tre’davious White and corner Levi Wallace are playing at a high level.

Matt Milano is a force at outside backer with both an interception and sack so far this season. Tremaine Edmunds is an athletic freak. Both will be needed to cover the Raiders’ tight ends.

How The Vegas Defense Stacks Up Against Buffalo

LB Nick Kwiatkoski will return. Our defense was missing him the past two weaks. Cory Littleton needs help.

CB Damon Arnette will miss this game too. Arnette could be out a couple of months.

Buffalo’s biggest weakness is their interior offensive line. That means the Raiders will need DT Mo Hurst, DT Maliek Collins and DE Clelin Ferrell to push the pocket from the interior.

Tackles Daryl Williams and Dion Dawkins are both playing well for Buffalo. Las Vegas will need their ends to step up and apply pressure. It can’t only be Crosby all year.

The Raiders rush defense also looked bad last week. Buffalo may turn to Singletary early and often. RB Zack Moss could also play through a toe injury and give the Bills added physicality at the tailback spot. We can’t afford to let Buffalo establish the run when they already have such strong passing threats.

Vegas will need their safeties to play discipline this week too. Allen has a big arm and the receiving threats to push the ball deep. The Bills also have Beasley to eat up intermediate junk.

The Raiders Offensive Keys Versus the Bills

Offensively, the Raiders will be down WR Henry Ruggs and OT Trent Brown again this week. WR Bryan Edwards is out with an ankle sprain.

Ruggs and Edwards out means more Zay Jones and Nelson Agoholor. Both have made splashes in the early season. Jones is facing the team that drafted him before trading him last year. Hopefully, he is extra motivated and open this week. They’re going to have their hands full with the Bills secondary.

The Rams threw a couple of big passes to Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee. That means, Foster Moreau and Darren Waller should both find opportunities to eat this week. Carr has also got to push the ball to all his guys again this week.

Vegas also needs to keep mixing Booker into their run game. He looked good last week and could spell Jacobs. Jacobs looks good as always but we need to keep his legs strong for those AFC West battles.

Don’t be too hard on rookie guard John Simpson. It’s still early in his career. He’s shown some flashes but will have his hands full with Buffalo’s rotation.

What A Mean Would Mean For The Silver And Black Stakes

Are the Raiders in a rebuild or a threat for the playoffs? The answer becomes a little more clear with this matchup versus the Bills.

A win versus the 3-0 Bills could put the Raiders back towards the top of the AFC. It would give them some momentum before next week’s division matchup with the Chiefs.

Losing puts the Raiders at .500. It’s a winning percentage the Raiders can live with through the first quarter of the season. However, we still wouldn’t know how good the Raiders. Is the AFC East that good? Is the NFC South that bad?

Nothing really surprising has happened this year. The Raiders offense looks efficient with Carr and Jacobs leading the way. The defense is still giving up big chunks versus the run and pass. They found just enough stops to beat two NFC South teams.

That is what the Raiders need this week. They need something unexpected versus a well coached and talented Bills team. We need a turnover or a big run or pass to really put Buffalo on their toes.

The Raiders usually find a way to beat Buffalo. Vegas is up 14-5 in the all-time series. Adding to that win total is not out of reach. It will just take capitalizing on the unexpected as well as applying pressure on Allen and creating turnovers.

3-0 in sight? Week Three 2020 Preview

Las Vegas opened with a bang as the Raiders upset the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

The Raiders weren’t without their flaws. Their pass rush was still non-existent. Alvin Kamara and Latavis Murray were effective as receivers and runners versus the Raiders defense.

Our run game still averaged less than four yards a carry. How much can the team ride Josh Jacobs?

Derek Carr completed passes to a number of different receivers en route to three touchdowns and 284 yards. He was efficient as always but took a few good shots down the field.

We got a good long look at rookie guard John Simpson as Richie Incognito left with an injury. Early reviews are good. Rookie corner Damon Arnette took his lumps again. All rookie corners face ups and downs.

Either way, the Raiders face another tough test this week versus the New England Patriots. They will again face a perennial playoff team today.

We all know how they can start slow in those East Coast early start games. Carr won’t have the safety of a Dome. The Raiders haven’t won in New England since the ’90s.

New England is obviously a different team with Cam Newton. Newton already has four rushing touchdowns this year. The Raiders defense needs to stay discipline with Newton in an offense that features many wrinkles.

Last week, the Pats lost a close game to the Seahawks. Seattle’s Russell Wilson was damn near flawless versus the Pats. Vegas needs a similar performance from Carr this week.

The Seahawks also established multiple runners. Las Vegas needs a similar performance from their offensive line as well as Jacobs.

Seattle also took away the running game as Cam Newton threw almost 50 times. He was also their leading rusher as Sony Michel didn’t do much.

The Pats don’t have the same receiving threats outside of Julian Edelman. Edelman went off versus the Hawks and he could do the same versus the Raiders young corners and over-aggressive safeties.

Again, the Raiders need to stay discipline upfront. They need their defensive line to have a big week by staying on their keys but disrupting as much as possible.

On offense, the Raiders will need to keep feeding Darren Waller and Jacobs. Those are their biggest weapons. They also gotta do something to not run Jacobs into the ground. They can’t give him thirty carries while he is battling injuries and expect to make a playoff run.

Thus, starting 3-0 comes down to coaching. Gruden needs to get the fired up like it’s opening night on Monday again.

The defense needs to stay discipline and honest for four quarters. They need to find ways to pressure Newton, especially if he throws the ball a lot again. Our d-line needs to step up and find who they were last year.

Offensively, they need to continue mixing it up with different receivers. Let’s keep seeing some more Nelson Agoholor, Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards. All three made big plays on Monday. Jacobs and Carr need all the help they can go.

This is a winnable game for the Raiders as long as they don’t stray away from the young and explosive team we’ve seen the past few weeks. 2-1 is still progress but 3-0 Is another level. We need every win possible in the competitive AFC West.

Raiders Rants: Week Two 2020, Aldon Smith and More

Imagine almost blowing a double-digit lead to the re-tooled Carolina Panthers? That’s exactly what the Raiders almost did last week versus the Carolina Panthers.

They pulled out the Week One win which we will take but they almost lost it due to a second half run. This gives Raiders fans PTSD considering they haven’t been great in the second half under Gruden or JDR.

This week the competition goes up a step versus the New Orleans Saints. NOLA quietly has a conclave of Raiders Nation but this game will be the first one in Las Vegas. It will be sans fans.

A Win in Perspective

Nonetheless, the Saints have been a perennial contender. They looked like that again in Week One. They welcomed Tom Brady to the NFC South with a few interceptions. New Orleans also kept the running game in check in Week One.

However, Tampa bounced back versus the Panthers in Week Two. They got Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette back on track. I tell you that to show you where Carolina, the team the Raiders got their first win against, stacks up in the NFC South.

Anyways, Vegas is still looking to establish themselves. In Week One, the defense left something to be desired with only one sack and zero interceptions versus the Panthers. Tampa Bay made a couple of interceptions and sacks versus Carolina.

Panthers receiver Robbie Anderson went off for triple digit receiving yards and a touchdown versus the Raiders and Buccs. McCaffrey did his thing in Week One with two TDs and more than 100 yards from scrimmage. He did the same in Week two, although he got hurt.

Also for Vegas, Nelson Agholor took some money out of people’s pockets by scoring the Raiders only receiving TD versus the Panthers. Derek Carr took some shots in that game and finished with a pretty consistent stat line.

Carr Driven By Others

Carr will need more help from his young receivers this week versus an established New Orleans secondary and pass rush. Agohlor is the vet of the bunch and should get more looks.

Either way, Vegas will need to lean on Jacobs to control the clock. Jacobs finished just short of the hundred yard mark versus the Panthers but finished three drives for the Raiders. The Raiders offensive line will need to establish Jacobs early to neutralize an aggressive NOLA d-line.

Otherwise, New Orleans thrives in a dome shootout. Their defense likes to take chances and play aggressive with a lead. Shout out to Dennis Allen, the former Raiders coach we all try and forget about.

Still, the Raiders haven’t proven they have the outside talent to keep up in that scenario. The Raiders’ best weapon will be keeping Drew Brees and that offense off the field. They can challenge this Saints defense by keeping the game close and making them play discipline football.

Defensive Keys

On Defense, the Raiders get some help with Michael Thomas expected to miss this game. Raiders LT Kolton Miller played pretty well in Week One. He’ll have an even bigger test versus the Saints edge Cam Jordan.

Regardless, Brees and the Saints have proven they can find receivers. Emmanuel Sanders knows the Raiders well from his extended time in Denver.

Jared Cook was also a Pro Bowler with the Silver and Black. Alvin Kamara can impact the game as a receiver and runner much like McCaffrey in Week One. New Orleans also utilizes the Tay Train, Latavius Murray. Any of them could have a big game versus the Raiders defense with Thomas’ touches.

Keeping that offense in check will be a matter of disrupting Brees and the backfield. The Raiders defensive line has to keep improving. Please get a sack or a pick this week.

BTW, the Raiders are paying their linebackers and safeties a lot of money. Let’s see some turnovers to give the offense an advantage.

Will the Saints March Into Vegas?

The point is, the Raiders face an incredible challenge versus the Saints this week. It’ll take incredible discipline and everything going right to stay competitive.

What the Raiders do have going for them is momentum from a Week One win and the hype for opening a new Stadium and market. A win here could have the Raiders looking like a contender again as they were early last year. A loss could have them stumble to the middle of the pack with only a win over Carolina.

The good news is that it is still early in the season and the Raiders have more non-division opponents after this game. That gives them plenty of time to establish themselves before the games mean a little more in the AFC West.

More from the AFC West

Speaking of which, what if I told you rookie Justin Herbert almost lead the Los Angeles Chargers to a win over the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. That shouldn’t be surprising since the Bolts have been playing the Chiefs tight the past few years.

Still, Herbert looked good. He took chances that kept drives going. He showed his toughness and leadership on scrambles. Their running game also continued to look good as well as their receivers. The Chargers could quietly have the best QB not named Mahomes if Herbert keeps developing.

One Final Shoutout

Also, shoutout to Aldon Smith. The former Raider who only played a half a season before receiving an extended ban returned to the field for the Cowboys. He lit up the Rams in Week One with a sack, TFL and several more tackles.

Smith came back to reality in Week Two but just seeing him return to the field after battling alcoholism, D.V. allegations, weed and a bunch more stuff is great. I’ve been rooting for him since Day One so I had to shoutout his success one-time.

Anyways, I’m ready for some football and I think Vegas is too.