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.