The Oakland Raiders’ secondary has been remarkably average this season. The team has allowed Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford to throw for 400+ yards against them, but have held quarterbacks like Jacoby Brissett, Deshaun Watson, and Philip Rivers under 300. In fact, the Raiders have not allowed a single quarterback to throw between 300-400 yards all season. The Raiders are 5-2 when allowing less than 300 yards but are 1-2 when allowing 400 or more.
All in all, this simply shows the Raiders’ mediocracy from a full game perspective. Breaking things down, we can see that a majority of the team’s interceptions come from their opponents’ final drives of the game. Some may call this a “bend, don’t break” mentality, but I call it average. During the give and take of a game, the Raiders bend and occasionally break, as all teams do. But, when it comes time for their opponents to drive down the field to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, this defense hardly bends. The best example of this is when the team forced Philip Rivers to go 0-8 on his final drive of the game. This means the Raiders have the best dime package in the NFL or that they are just incredibly clutch. Or both.
Regardless, the Raiders’ secondary has left some to be desired. Yes, they are incredibly exhilarating to watch at the end of games. However, they do not seem good for the heart. Overall, the Raiders rank 15 th in pass defense, placing them almost at the median of the league. Also, the team is now missing Johnathan Abram, Lamarcus Joyner, and Karl Joseph and they still continue to get the job done. The Raiders secondary (and defense) have adopted Al Davis’ “Just Win Baby” mentality almost to a fault. This defense is not going to be one to record shutouts, but they will typically do enough to keep the team in the game.
Looking ahead, the Raiders are scheduled to face Sam Darnold, Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Tannehill, and Nick Foles the next four games. If the secondary continues their trend, we can assume the team will experience three sub-300-yard passers and one to push 400. The secondary has been far from a liability and has contributed to wins as well as sealing them. Erik Harris has been an absolute animal, recording three interceptions so far while returning two of them for touchdowns.
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