Colts @ Raiders
The Colts need wins. In addition, Andrew Luck gives his team a chance to win every time he takes the field. Assuming that he is healthy, T.Y. Hilton will give the Raiders secondary fits. The unit continues to struggle with speed all season long. I just do not see any corners being able to hold their own against him. Conley could excels for stints, but eventually Hilton is going to beat him. Plus, no one can remain sure that Conley just does not have the experience to hold his own against Hilton in what amounts to his rookie season.
On defense, the Colts boast young talent. Darius Leonard is quickly developing into one of the better young linebackers in the NFL. In addition, Malik Hooker is a playmaker in the secondary at safety. Ultimately, this game comes down to whether Carr is able to go toe-to-toe with a motivated Luck. After the London debacle, luck is not with the Raiders. As a result, they lose a very winnable game.
Raiders @ Niners
The last real battle of the Bay. What a game it would have been to see Carr edge out Garoppolo in a shootout. Shanahan will develop a scheme that will attack the Raiders’ lack of pass rush. Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin is the name to watch. The former NCAA track legend gives CJ Beathard the ability to exploit woeful safety play.
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Deforest Buckner, due to his strength and knack for defeating an array of blockers gives this defense teeth.. Look for Buckner to be a handful for the Raiders interior offensive line. At the linebacker position, Reuben Foster and Fred Warner are the best linebacker duo in the Bay Area. Each bring a nose for the ball and the ability to slip blocks and secure the stop. In the secondary, Richard Sherman will attempt to muscle whomever lines up in front of him. While that does work, officials also know this.
RaiderNation has joked that this is their biggest game, and while it won’t live up to the hype without the quarterback showdown, expect Gruden to treat it like a playoff game. Mistakes aside, Gruden is with the culture and I think that he will be as fired up as fans for a win. Raiders win and it is not nearly as close as their last few have been.
In reality, the Raiders should win the next two games. However, with rumors of fire sale and player discontent, no game remains a given. If the Raiders can manage a split, fans should take it. Meanwhile, two losses means the wheels completely came off the franchise.