As the Oakland Raiders prepare for the massive showdown in Kansas City, let’s take a look at who needs to step up on offense.
The Raiders this season, for the most part, have overachieved as they currently stand at 6-5. They are one game out of the Wild Card and one game behind for the division lead. Last Sunday, the Raiders traveled to New York and were given a reality check after a three-game winning streak. Many were talking about what a turnaround Jon Gruden had just pulled off and now it has gone back to, “well it’s a young team they are not there yet.”
This could be “the” season in a nutshell tomorrow. We know, yes mathematically the Raiders could still make the wild card, but it will be difficult. With that being said, offensively who needs to step up the most against the Chiefs to keep hopes for the playoffs alive.
Yes, we all know Carr’s record in under 40-degree weather 0-4, 152 ypg, 51% comp pct with three touchdowns and four interceptions. The temperature this weekend will be in the 30’s, so yea what better time for Carr to breakthrough then now.
Three seasons ago Carr was in the MVP discussion before that horrible Christmas Eve that ended with a broken ankle and effectively end the Raiders season. Since then it has been a love hate relationship with the fans. Everyone wants Carr to succeed, but some come to his defense when he has a tough game and others bash him. Truth be told since 2016, Carr has had two offensive coordinators and schemes. He also had less than ideal protection and at times, not the best receiving group.
Also, this year he has had, for the most part, solid protection, a great run game and a better receiving corps. Regardless being paid as a franchise quarterback this is the type of game you go out and shut it down. This is where Carr will need to show up and exercise the cold weather and arrowhead demons. Now the Chiefs defense is leaky they are opportunistic, but leaky. This is the game where Carr needs to show up.
Waller began this season on fire. In his first six games he totaled 44 receptions. His last five games however, only 15 receptions. He still leads the team in receptions, but with only 15 in the last fivr games that is not optimal.
Now it hasn’t all been on Waller as teams caught on and now are ready for him. They scheme for him and now know the talent he holds. Waller has the opportunity to go off this week against a Chiefs defense that is not particularly great. Their primary goal will be to try and stack the box to stop Josh Jacobs, so there may be possibilities for the passing game and Waller is a match up nightmare and if the box is stacked to slow the ground game Waller could have a field day.
Up until Week 1, Williams was being set as the No. 2 receiver and then the Antonio Brown drama happened leaving Williams as the No. 1. He responded with a touchdown in his first five games. But then he missed Weeks 5 and 7 with injury. Now his last four games he has no touchdowns and he has had some key drops in that span as well. Yes he was not supposed to be the No. 1, but that’s the title he holds and coming Sunday he will need to show up for the team and just as with Waller, if the Chiefs try to lean more on stopping the run then it will give Williams a shot to have a big game and it will go a long way in getting a big victory.
The Offensive Line
The line has been a big improvement over last season being labeled “Carr Insurance” and they have been solid. They have battled injuries lately and that of course will contribute to issues such as giving up sacks and quarterback pressures. This week there is the question whether Trent Brown will be able to play as he did not practice Friday. Regardless, the line will need to step up and protect Carr and help open space for the run game.
This game has so much on the line for the Raiders and in December with the cold, many games come down to the trenches, so the O-line will need to do what it has done for much of the season and dominate. In a season of ups and downs the line can help it go back up with a solid performance.