Two consecutive losses, including a blowout loss at Atlanta, has some wondering if the Las Vegas Raiders are a sure bet for the playoffs.
It’s been a rough two weeks for the Silver and Black as the one-time 6-3 Las Vegas Raiders are now a 6-5 football team. And it wasn’t so much that the club lost a back-and-forth encounter with the defending Super Bowl champions, 35-31, in Week 11. Rather, it was an ugly 43-6 loss at Atlanta last Sunday that may be cause for a little concern.
A year ago, Jon Gruden’s team surprised many with a midseason three-game losing streak and owned a 6-4 record after 10 games. At that time, the Raiders were tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC West. But Andy Reid’s team would not lose the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Gruden’s club dropped five of its last six contests, tumbled to 7-9 and finished in third place in the division. And it began with an ugly 34-3 setback at MetLife Stadium to the New York Jets. Ironically, that’s the club that Derek Carr and company face on Sunday and in the same venue. Of course, the circumstances are much different as the Raiders are still above .500. However, the Green and White is still searching for its first victory this year and own a 0-11 mark.
The Raiders will be short-handed in East Rutherford as second-year running back Josh Jacobs is out. That makes things a lot more difficult for Carr and the offense. And Las Vegas comes off an outing in which they committed five turnovers in the loss to the Falcons.
The reality is that this team must play efficient football offensively because their defensive unit simply isn’t strong enough to make up for a poor performance on the other side of the ball. The Raiders have allowed more points (319) than they have scored (292). The club has come away with only 12 sacks and just a dozen takeaways in 11 outings this season.
Gruden’ club still has some work ahead of itself after this clash with the Jets. The team has a three-game homestand against the Colts, Chargers, and Dolphins before visiting the Broncos in Week 17. The Raiders have already defeated Los Angeles and Denver this season. And a win on Sunday would put Gruden’s team two games above .500 with four weeks to play and primed for the club’s first postseason appearance since 2016.
Still, these Raiders have little room for error. Can the Silver and Black avoid another late-season meltdown? There will be some big-time concern and questions if the team happens to stumble against the winless Jets.