Jon Gruden’s team needs to make a statement in their next three contests, all in Sin City, if the Raiders are going to reach the playoffs.
It didn’t come easy last week but Jon Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders pulled a Houdini at MetLife Stadium last Sunday as quarterback Derek Carr found rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III streaking down the left sidelines and behind a Jets’ defense. The 46-yard touchdown connection with five seconds to play was the pivotal moment in the club’s 31-28 triumph over the winless Green and White.
Now the Silver and Black return to Sin City and is betting on itself when it comes to reaching the playoffs. And Jon Gruden’s club has an excellent opportunity to make some headway as the club is home for three consecutive games.
First up is Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon. The teams are only separated by one game in terms of win-loss records and the Colts (328) and Raiders (323) have scored nearly the same amount of points. But that’s really where the similarities end. Only clubs in the league have allowed fewer total yards per game than Frank Reich’s club. Meanwhile, in their last three games alone, Las Vegas has surrendered a whopping 106 points.
Then come the division-rival Chargers, who are in the midst of a second consecutive losing campaign after finishing 12-4 and reaching the playoffs in 2018. Perhaps the most damning number when it comes to Anthony Lynn’s problem-plagued club is the fact that the Bolts have dropped nine consecutive games vs. AFC West rivals, including a 31-26 loss to these Raiders at Los Angeles back in Week 9.
The homestand concludes with a prime time clash with the Miami Dolphins which is now the third game of a Saturday tripleheader. Like the Colts, Brian Flores’ club is right in the playoff mix as well and similar to Indianapolis features one of the better defenses in the league.
The Raiders have not been to the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a postseason contest since the 2002 AFC Championship Game. It’s one of many droughts by any number of clubs in the playoff mix this year. And if this franchise is to get into the 14-team Super Bowl sweepstakes, Derek Carr and his offensive counterparts will need a lot from the Las Vegas’ defense. And a little home cookin’ wouldn’t hurt either.