With the Battle of the Bay only a few hours away, the Oakland raised sit at another crossroads in 2018. In addition, with the national media firmly trained on this game, Jon Gruden resides in the spotlight. Although the game does not possess any playoff implications, these teams and fanbases want a signature win versus their area rival. As a result, the Raiders still need to answer questions.
Will Derek Carr feast?
If you look at the Niners on defense, their secondary resembles the 2017 Raiders in one regard: the lack of interceptions. During the 2018 campaign, the 49ers only snared two picks. In return, this should give hope for Derek Carr to pick them apart. Despite a dearth of talent at receiver, the Niners’ secondary will accommodate the quick passing game and the occasion post. Prediction: Expect Carr to throw for 3 scores and 275 yards.
Will the run defense show up for the Raiders?
As Hines and Mack gashed the Raiders for 222 yards, red flags flew. While that number seems extreme, realize that Jelly Ellis, the primary run stuffer suffered an injury. Now, looking at Matt Breida, understand that he does not possess the same electric burst as Marlon Mack. While he does own a 66-yard run, Breida must fight through a nagging ankle injury. Meanwhile, this could be a prime occasion for the Raiders to actually lock down the run game.
Who is Nick Mullens?
With CJ Beathard unable to grab a ball due to wrist injuries, Mullens grabs the spot. So, what does his bring? Mullens is a bit of a scrambler. Granted, he is not outrunning anyone to the corner. Yet, he will move the pocket. In addition, Mullen will throw from funky angles. Under those circumstances, the Raiders need to stay rush disciplines and not allow Mullens to extend the play. More importantly, Mullens’ height and arm slot should allow for batted passes.
In reality, the Raiders should play fairly well. Yet, with an absent pass rush, anything can happen. With many calling for the outright tank, the Raiders should, at least win this game. Although no one wants to agree, this rivalry changes in the coming years.