Vegas needs to beat the Colts. Indianapolis is in their own slump. They just fired their coach and hired former player Jeff Saturday. The former o-linemen was in a special role with the team but not as a coach.
The Raiders lost a close game to Jackcsonville but honestly it should not have been that close. Jacksonville kept giving the Raiders opportunities on offense late. The Jaguars also helped the Raiders out with miscues the team capitalized on early.
Vegas struggled with the Jaguars length and speed upfront. You saw that on the couple of sacks.
They found Davante Adams early and offen but got away from it. We know how Adams feels about it. The Raiders also got away from Josh Jacobs. Again, I’ll put that more on the o-line and play-calling. Jacobs ran hard and made much of nothing.
Defensively, Vegas faced a winnable matchup. Jacksonville has some veteran experience and athleticism but they were not elite. They still found ways to dominate the Raiders with double teams. The Jags also found ways to use the quickness and explosiveness of the Raiders with some fakes. Vegas did not get home to the quarterback and that includes Maxx Crosby.
2-7 with a loss to the 3-6 Colts means the season is even more over. Vegas needs to come ouy and execute. Even in their two wins, they never got all threee assets if the game rolling.
The Raiders face a tougher matchup on offense. This defense features Yannick Ngakoue and DeForest Buckner. They have 9.5 sacks between them. They both play with the hands, length and leverage that can give the Raiders problems. This will be the best inside/outside defensive line combo the Raiders have faced. Yannick knows the line well from his one-year in Silver and Black.
Offensively, the Colts have some size and soeed that can give the Raiders problems. Vegas signed Sidney Jones to give them some size and speed outside. He played solid for the Seahawks last year and he is under 30. It is a low-risk and high-reward signing for the Raiders. They can also play Amik Robertson at safety more with John Abram gone. Same goes for Nate Hobbs whenever he returns.
Vegas also needs to probe theh can stop the run. That gets a bit harder with Blake Martinez announcing his retirement this week. Martinez was solid, despite being thrust into a starting role immediately due to injuries. The Raiders interior linemen needs to play stout and with gap integrity. Denzel Perryman and Jayvon Brown play better when they can run around not have to worry about blockers as much.
We know how tough Jonathan Taylor runs. Vegas needs their safeties and linebackers to make tackles. They can’t have any lapses in coverages or penalties that give the Colts a big play.
Vegas needs to take what they want on offense. Get the ball to Adams and Jacobs. Let Hollins and Moreau find mismatches. Stay in front of the chains with short down and distance.
Again, the defensive line is challenged with trying to disrupt the quarterback. The Colts offensive line and quarterback are their weakest links. That means it’s on the defensive line to get some sacks. This is the kind of game where Chandler Jones and Clelin Ferrell earn those millions. It’s also a game Maxx Crosby can dominate.
Vegas can only unlock their true potential as pass rushers if they stay true to the run. This offense runs through Taylor and they will never get a chance to sack the QB if Taylor keeps moving the sticks.
Every week we talk about how the Raiders need to execute for four quarters. They need to take what they want on offense and make turnovers on defense. It’s simple but the time is now. Vegas is playing for every breathe in their season. Can they find their winning ways versus the only team more underachieving than them?