Las Vegas Raiders
I thought the Chiefs game was the most exciting of the week until I woke up and finished watching the Raiders-Ravens game from Monday night. (I have a full time job so yes, I went to bed on time.)
This might be the first and only time I am slightly appreciative of the Raiders. They took the Ravens through overtime before beating them on the opening night of Toilet Bowl Stadium where they finally had full capacity fans. Here is where I am thankful: on a short week, the Ravens had to travel to the West coast(ish) and were taken through a physical and demanding game that went into overtime. We get the Ravens next week. I bet they are tired.
This game was a bit of a snoozefest until the end when it got out of control. Darren Waller proved he is one of the top tight ends in the game. Also, if you didn’t listen to the pregame discussion of Waller’s battle with addiction and the influence on the team, it is worth a watch. I still think Derek Carr is a middling quarterback and that Jon Gruden is past his prime, but Raiders gonna Raider. I think the Raiders are still the worst team in the AFC West and that was only reinforced by the fact that the 4th overall pick in 2019 draft, Clelin Ferrell, was a health scratch for the game. Only the Raiders could draft that poorly.
Coming out of this game, though, the Raiders paid a hefty price on the injury front. Denzelle Good, their starting guard tore his ACL in the win and is out for the season. Not great for an offensive line that struggled against the Ravens pass rush. That also doesn’t help a quarterback who, if he gets any sort of pressure, melts down. The Raiders also fear significant injuries to edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, quarterback Marcus Mariota, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. As of the writing of this column, their status is unknown.
And the road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Raiders as they get the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. The Steelers just beat the Bills in a defensive slugfest and look like they might be a tough AFC team moving forward (at least as long as Big Ben’s arm holds up). Will the Raiders prove tough enough to go blow for blow with the Steelers? I don’t know, but it is certainly an intriguing game.