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!