Las Vegas Raiders
This one is tricky for me. National media is ready to crown the Raiders as a completely transformed unit, but I can’t help but pause.
Look, the win over the Ravens was certainly impressive, but they should have lost that game. This week’s win over the Steelers wasn’t all that impressive to me either. Derek Carr is playing really well this season (but doesn’t he always start that way?), but the Steelers are just not that good this year. Big Ben is a shell of himself and they lost their best player in TJ Watt halfway through the game to a groin injury.
Are the Raiders better than they have been in recent history? Yes. But are we preparing to see another October meltdown from this team? Probably. The Raiders have plenty of weapons and they were on display on Sunday; however, I just think there are fundamental flaws within the team that are going to come back to bite them. I watched the game, and maybe it is an inherent bias where all I can see is Derek Carr’s eyeliner, but they just do not look like a team that is Super Bowl-bound. I did find Henry Ruggs III’s touchdown impressive.
The Raiders left the game with a couple injuries to monitor. Derek Carr was banged up a little bit and had an MRI; however, Gruden announced that although he would be listed as questionable, he will likely play on Sunday. Josh Jacobs remains questionable and offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood is also questionable for Sunday following a back strain. Back strains this early in an offensive lineman’s career are never a good sign.
On Sunday, the Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins. I have no idea how this game will go. The Dolphins were handed a good old-fashioned butt whooping on Sunday by the Bills, and Tua Tagovailoa’s status heading into the game is up in the air following rib injuries. If Tua can go, this game could be interesting, but if not, I think we are in for the most annoying fan base in the history of the NFL to start squawking even louder. It’s fine. We play our Super Bowl in February, not September.