Heading into Week 8, the Las Vegas Raiders hold a 3-3 record. They will take on a Cleveland Browns team that is currently sitting at 5-2. Although running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Odell Beckham are out with injuries, the Silver and Black shouldn’t take them lightly.
The Raiders offense could face a couple of roadblocks in Week 8
Quarterback Baker Mayfield is coming off a game in which he threw five touchdown passes and just one interception against the Cincinnati Bengals. Meanwhile, we’ll have our first glimpse of 2020 ‘Cold Carr’. Quarterback Derek Carr’s record in the cold hasn’t been good, so it’s worth monitoring how he fares in Week 8 when the temperature drops. On the bright side, he’s playing well so this may be the year he puts his weather issues behind.
Running back Josh Jacobs hasn’t been playing like himself, but the Raiders offensive line hasn’t been healthy all year either. They have played top defenses almost every week, so Jacobs will likely get back to himself once the offensive line is all back together.
While the Browns are leading the NFL in forced turnovers with 14, their defense ranks 29th in points allowed. The Raiders offense needs to exploit that and take care of the ball. Although it’s too early to talk about playoffs, a win against the Browns would place them in the conversation. The Silver and Black’s offense is currently ranked 11th in the league and has scored at least 20 points every game in 2020. This one should be a fun one to watch.
Henry Ruggs needs to have a big role on offense
As good as the Raiders offense has been, they need to get wide receiver Henry Ruggs III involved more. The team is targeting him 2.7 times per game?! That number needs to go up!. Through four games, he’s only been targeted 14 times, which is unacceptable for a wideout who’s averaging 17.5 yards per catch.
The Raiders need to get the Alabama standout going in games early and often in the offense. If they do, the unit can be even better than it has been. Who cares if he’s a rookie? The team’s brass spent a first-round draft pick on him for a reason, to help the offense. He showed against the Kansas City Chiefs what he is capable of doing when they involve him in the gameplan. He needs the get the ball at least six to eight times per game.
Don’t forget about the defense
Lastly, the defense, the obvious one. The Raiders are tied for 29th in sacks with seven and tied for last in takeaways with three. Furthermore, they are 31st in scoring defense, giving up about 33 points per game, and 30th in yards per play allowed with 6.29. Those are all very embarrassing numbers.
As good as the offense is, it has to play perfect every single game all game for a chance to even beat anyone because the defense can’t stop anyone. The Raiders defense really has to find their identity and start getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing turnovers. If they want to contend for a playoff spot, they have plenty of work to do. Taking care of business and beating the Browns in Week 8 will be the start.
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Top Photo: Jeff Robertson/Associated Press