The Raiders won with their defense making big plays over the Green Bay Packers. Vegas linebacker Robert Spillane came up with two interceptions. The second interception was setup by a Crosby sack followed by a Peters breakup that Spillane caught.
Amik Robertson made a beautiful pick off of Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love to save the game. Las Vegas had missed a field goal that would’ve given them a full touchdown lead. It felt like we were headed toward another heartbreak until that Robertson interception.
Still, the Raiders offense needs to do more. They stuck with Josh Jacobs and the running game more versus Green Bay. However, the Raiders line did not really have an answer for Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and company upfront. Not only were they stout against the run but that big three each had a sack. Jacobs scored but averaged less than four yards a carry with 20 attempts.
Jimmy Garoppolo made some plays including a TD pass to Jakobi Meyers. However, he also threw an interception early. Michael Meyer and Davante Adams each caught passes for over 20 yards. Yet, neither have been consistent threats as expected.
Adams needs the ball more as the alpha pass catcher. Hunter Renfrow doesn’t even have 100 receiving yards this whole season. He hasn’t even missed one game. Vegas would not have beat the Packers without forcing three turnovers. It’s still a great win considering nobody expected much from the Raiders.
Now, rumors surfaced that the Raiders are looking for a pass rusher and/or shopping Renfrow on the Trade Block. There’s not a lot out there in free agency on the edge.
Frank Clark was just released from the Broncos. He knows the AFC West well from his Chiefs days but I honestly think he’ll look at a team higher in the standings.
Otherwise, it’s mostly veterans like Carlos Dunlap, Robert Quinn and Jason Pierre-Paul that are available. Those guys are also trying to stay in the league despite age and injuries. Anthony Barr is probably the best hybrid linebacker/edge player available who just turned 30. Although, I’m not sure he fits the role the Raiders want opposite Maxx Crosby though.
After that, Vegas has to look at the trade block. Vikings edge Danielle Hunter and Commanders Edge Chase Young are the biggest names that have been on and off the block the last year. Young finally looks like he has bounced back from injury with three sacks this year. His contract is up but he could be pricey. Hunter also had his own contract issues this offseason but that did not stop him from registering six sacks this year. Hunter is about to turn 30 but he has 77 career sacks in 107 games.
It’s unclear if the Raiders would really be willing to give up the draft capital to get that quality of an edge rusher. Even if they added in Renfrow and one of their extra defensive backs, they would probably still have to give up at least a first or second round pick.
New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams could probably be had for a bit cheaper given how bad their season is going. Williams knows defensive coordinator Patrick Graham but he’s only had 9.5 sacks through his last 34 games, including just .5 sacks this year. We’ve always wanted Williams to be a Raider and he would be an upgrade over what the Raiders have inside. He may still have some ability to flex outside.
Either way, it would not hurt for the Raiders to add some defensive line help. That way they could develop Tyree Wilson a bit more. He might even benefit from less playing time and more quality situations where he can thrive.
No Let Downs
This week the Raiders take on a Patriots team that is not playing well. There are rumors about a coaching change. The quarterback situation is a mess. Their top two running backs have both struggled in their own ways. New England’s defense has had serious injuries.
New England started their season with two one-possession losses to the Eagles and Dolphins. They beat the Jets. Then, they had two huge losses. One versus the Cowboys and a shutout versus the Saints last week. This team will come into Vegas desperate for a win.
All eyes are on quarterback Mac Jones. Patriots running back Rhamondre Stephenson is also coming back to his hometown. Last year, the duo had the game spoiled by a Chandler Jones pick-six at the end of the game.
Jakobi Meyers caused that turnover in the game last year and he is now with the Raiders. Meyers has been Garoppolo’s favorite target when the two play. Expect the defense to key on him.
It should not matter though. The Raiders need to exert their will if they want to put away this Patriots team that is fighting for an identity and their season. Outside of some defensive backs you’ve heard of, the Patriots defense is filled with average players. Vegas needs a bounce back game from their offensive line. They also need to help Josh Jacobs finally have a breakout game.
Moreover, this defense needs to keep creating turnovers. Crosby needs help from his peers as far as pressure the quarterback. The secondary needs to keep creating turnovers.
If Vegas can run the ball, push the ball downfield and make some turnovers they should win easily. Moreover, they’ll be that much closer to establishing and identity. Then, they go into Chicago versus a struggling Bears team. Vegas could easily string together three-straight wins. Then they’re looking at being above .500 when they take on a Detroit Lions team that is playing well.
Either way, Vegas must win this week and get to the .500 mark before we can even talk about momentum. A win versus the Patriots would give the Raiders an even bigger lead over the Denver Broncos in the division. It would also help them keep pace with the Chargers.
Moreover, it’s always great to beat the Pats. You can’t tell me Josh McDaniels doesn’t want to beat his old boss. And I’m sure GM Dave Ziegler wouldn’t mind sticking it to the organization that groomed him. Plus, I’m not sure there is a better ending for Bill Belichick than losing to his guys.