To say that the Raiders’ defense looks completely different from last season would be an understatement. Like I had mentioned in a preseason article, the Raiders’ defense is playing with electricity and fire running through their veins. Although they allow the 12th most points per game in the NFL, they have done enough to boost this team to a 3-2 record.
The Paul Guenther led defense allows 24.6 points per game, but this can be broken down to reveal the issues. Oakland has allowed 15 touchdowns on the year (while scoring 12), with 11 of their touchdowns allowed coming on pass plays. This means the Raiders have allowed only 4 rushing touchdowns this season. The defense allow only gives up 92 rush yards per game, ranking them 10th in the league.
For the most part, run defense has not been the major issue.
To start the season, the Raiders have faced Joe Flacco, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Jacoby Brissett, and Chase Daniel. Other than Mahomes, the other four quarterbacks would be considered far from elite. Mahomes threw 4 touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 2, meaning inferior quarterbacks have thrown 7 touchdowns against the Raiders through 4 games. This is certainly not ideal news considering the
Raiders will be facing Aaron Rodgers, Deshawn Watson, and Matthew Stafford over their next three games.
This stretch will be a major test for Paul Guenther and the Raiders’ defense. The next three games will show the Raiders’ defense what high tier, if not elite, quarterbacks look like. It would be nice to see Guenther break out some unique blitzes and formations in order to keep the quarterback’s on their toes.
Currently, the Raiders have 3 interceptions through 5 games, and due to struggles in this category in previous years, fans can find comfort in this stat.
Statistically, Guenther’s defense is looking at a B overall grade, with an A in run defense and a C regarding defense against the pass. It is also important to remember the Raiders shut out the Kansas City Chiefs in three of the game’s four quarters. Obviously, that game resulted in a loss due to the Chiefs scoring four touchdowns in the second quarter, but we must appreciate successes when we can find them.
The Raiders’ defense may get overlooked in the media due to the recent success of Josh Jacobs, but rest assured, the defense is improving. Paul Guenther finally has found traction for the defense’s spinning wheels and it has been exciting to watch the improvement. Hopefully with an extra week off, the Raiders defense can come back rejuvenated and can continue improving their numbers.