- Phil Jones
The Raiders need to pull out a victory on Sunday to stay in their division race
The Las Vegas Raiders (5-4) are coming off back to back losses after their bye week. The team
originally sat in first place in the AFC West but after Sunday night's loss against the Kansas City
Chiefs they currently sit in third place with the playoff window closing fast. Now, many will say
that the team is suffering from two major blows, Gruden resigning over the email debacle and
wide receiver Henry Ruggs III running in with the law. The team has no excuse especially after
winning two without Gruden.
They still have offensive weapons on the team and recently added wide receiver DeSean Jackson who last Sunday night vs. KC had fumbled the ball on a potential scoring play, his first since 2010. The Raiders shouldn’t hit the panic button on the season but overcome this adversity that they’ve faced and bounce back. Quarterback Derek Carr needs to channel his 2016 MVP candidate self to help lead this team. In the last two games he has completed 55/81 557 3 TDs and 3 picks.
The last 2 years the second half of the season has not been kind to Carr and the Raiders going a combined total of 6-10. That needs to change, especially today facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) who are also battling in the AFC North to get a playoff spot in the AFC. The two teams are now on the outside looking in but Carr and the Raiders will look to attack the Bengals 24nd rank pass defense by getting top TE Darren Waller involved more. He will also need to trust his other receivers Zay Jones, Bryan Edwards, and DeSean Jackson to take the ease off of slot receiver Hunter Renfrow.
The Raiders need to find ways to establish the run ranking 28th in the NFL. Running back Josh Jacobs needs to stop acting like a wishy-washy runner and act like the ground and pound first round pick the Raiders drafted. Producing only 80 rushes for 296 5 TDs avg. 3.7 yard is not cutting it and even if the Bengals rank 8th against the run the Raiders still need to attempt to find a crack in their run defense. If the Raiders pull out a win this afternoon then they will have another opportunity at winning the AFC West.