Coming off their first win, let us look at how the Raiders will fare over their next 2 weeks, as this will really be a pivotal stretch for the season. The Raiders can keep their playoff hopes alive with a favorable host of games. However, will they be able to turn their season around?
Raiders @ Chargers
In looking at this Chargers’ offense, they have been explosive on offense and are averaging over 27 points per game, but that is a bit deceiving in that they have faced a struggling Chiefs defense along with a Buffalo defense that is desperately in need of talent. In looking ahead at this game, I am curious to see how much of their offensive success has been the result of their schedule. That said, this offense does have weapons and Phillip Rivers is as steady as ever at the quarterback position.
In looking at the offense, wide receiver Keenan Allen is one of the best route runners in the NFL, but the return of Daryl Worley could give the Raiders secondary the boost it desperately needs in what will be a tough matchup. While Keenan Allen is the marquee receiver, Mike Williams should not be taken lightly as he presents a distinct challenge in that, his size along with his ability to make contested catches will be a critical match up in the red zone. Conley has had mixed results against bigger receivers. While he held his own well against Demaryius Thomas in the Raiders game against Denver, Devante Parker got the better of him in the matchup with Miami. In looking at the rest of the Chargers offense, the running game has been dominant for a team Gordon is electric and could be a deciding factor in this game.
Last week, Nick Chubb was able to break a couple long outside runs against the Raiders. As a result, they will have to work on containment against Gordon. Beyond that, both Gordon and Ekeler catch well out of the backfield. Plus, Phillip Rivers loves to get his running backs involved as receivers.
Looking at the Chargers defense last week, they couldn’t contain George Kittle. Jared Cook could be the go-to-guy for the Raiders offense this week. Nevertheless, the Chargers employ a great secondary. Look for Derwin James to make an impact in this game from the safety position. He’s the most versatile weapon for this defense. Also, is quickly developing into one of the best in the NFL. James can blitz and has shown great awareness in coverage. Carr will have to be careful with taking shots down the field. That said, the defense will be without Joey Bosa and the Raiders catch a huge break. Without him, the Chargers struggle to rush the passer consistently.
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Both Brandon Parker and Kolton Miller have shown some promise, if Kelechi Osemele is unable to go this could sway the outcome of the game. While fans have criticized him for his play, in watching tape you see that Carr does not trust his line right now. In return, that resulted in some of his more erratic plays. With all of that in mind, I think that this game could come down to the wire and will likely be another thriller as the explosive offenses for both teams have their way with defenses that have been struggling. Both teams come into the game needing a win. However, having recaptured the late game magic last week I think the Raiders find a way to win.
Seahawks @ Raiders
The Seahawks are not the same team anymore. The Seahawks still have one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Bobby Wagner. Plus, Frank Clark quietly developed into one of the better defensive ends in the NFL. Yet, this is a team that underwent an enormous amount of turnover in recent years.
Eventually, this kind of turnover catches up with even the best front offices. On defense, the Seahawks surrender an average of 20 points per game. That was before they lost Earl Thomas. Meanwhile on offense, they are only scoring 21 points per game. This team deserves respect for being able to play hard. In many ways, the identity shift to a team built around Russell Wilson has not panned out. While Wilson shows the ability to make some special plays, the Seahawks just lack the talent around him. The offensive line remains problematic. Beyond that, their inability to find a replacement for Marshawn Lynch has been one of the biggest factors in their struggles without the balance they had with BeastMode, this team has struggled to close out games.
Rashaad Penny looked like a dynamic player coming out of college. However, he failed to earn the nod as their starting running back. In addition, there are questions as to whether he can develop into an every-down back for this team. Make no mistake, the Raiders should easily win this game.In contrast, they will need to enter the game expecting a fight. .This Seahawks team does not have the talent they had before. On the other hand, they are scrappy. If the Raiders overlook this matchup, I could see the Seahawks stealing one here. Raiders win but the game is closer than it should have been.
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