Throughout his career, Las Vegas Raiders Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t fared well in cold/wet conditions, but the Silver and Black are hoping he can turn that around this season. Carr will have a chance to change the narrative against a 5-2 Cleveland Browns team on a cold, rainy day. Adding pressure to the challenge, high winds are expected too.
1. Derek Carr Must Overcome His History Of Losing Games In Cold Weather
Derek Carr has a terrible 2-11 record when playing games in weather under 50 degrees and 0-5 in weather under 40 degrees. The weather in Cleveland this Sunday will be 43 degrees, rainy, and very windy with winds up to 50+ MPH. That’s not the kind of weather in which the quarterback usually thrives.
Then again, Carr has something going for him this time around. He didn’t really have much of a supporting cast in previous seasons. This time is different as the Raiders have provided him with a vast array of skill position players this year. It’s time for ‘4’ to prove he can win in the elements.
2. The Raiders need more from Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs has underperformed in 2020. In his rookie season, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Six games into the season, he is averaging a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. Not everything in on him though, as the Raiders offensive line has been riddled with injuries this season. Right tackle Trent Brown has just played in one full game this season. Furthermore, guard Richie Incognito sustained an Achilles injury in Week 2, and he’s still nursing it.
Before the Raiders’ Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, most of the team’s offensive line was isolated due to the NFL’s contract tracing protocol and didn’t practice all week. To add insult to the injury, guard Gabe Jackson was ejected midgame. All this trickled and surely played a factor in the unit’s in-game performance. Things will likely be different this week as the unit has partaken in the team’s practices without restrictions and may even get ’77’ back.
We aren’t sweating about Jacobs’ performance as of now. Once the offensive line gets healthier, ’28’ will break out of his slump. He will have a tough test this weekend as the Browns rank fifth in rushing yards allowed in 2020. He needs to get going early and often and if he does it, the Raiders will have a chance to control the clock.
3. Paul Guenther Needs To Figure Out How To Get This Defense Going
The Raiders defense has just been awful. They have forced the least amount of turnovers in 2020 with three. Meanwhile, the Browns defense has forced the most turnovers with 14, and they have a very high scoring offense as well. Whatever defensive coordinator Paul Guenther did in the second half against the Chiefs, he needs to do that again.
The Raiders defense was fairly decent against Kansas City and the New Orleans Saints, but what about the other games? The unit has simply been a liability and their performance against the ‘Bucs’ wasn’t acceptable. The Silver and Black’s defense allowed 45 points and 21 of those in the fourth quarter in a span of about seven minutes. That is embarrassing.
The Raiders rank last or close to last in every single defensive category. Their defense is ultimately what is holding this team back. They have a high scoring offense, but their defense is just bad and they will keep having a hard time winning games against contenders until they change that.
If Guenther can dial up the same type of play calling he did against the Chiefs and Saints for this Sunday against the Browns, and the offense starting with Jacobs and Carr can keep scoring at a high level given the wet, cold, and windy conditions, the Raiders have a chance to win in Week 8. If they take care of business, we can start talking about playoffs.
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Top Photo: Charles Krupa Associated Press