As recently as last week, the Las Vegas Raiders appeared to be trending towards a loss. However, recent injury developments have potentially balanced the playing field.
What a difference a few days make
Richie Incognito being unable to play and second-year man Jon Simpson having to block Calais Campbell is far from ideal. Simpson is a strong run blocker but his pass protection is suspect, to say the least. Nonetheless, he will be making just his third start of his career.
Next to him will be another first year starter in third-year player Andre James. Offensive line coach Tom Cable has faith in his young protégé, and with time, James may be an adequate and dare I say quality replacement. As it stands, the Raiders will now have three new starters on the offensive line, including a rookie at tackle. The Raiders’ depth on the line is a far cry from serviceable.
At this point, the Raiders offensive line has more questions than answers and the middle of the line could potentially be a huge problem. Which does not bode well for a quarterback with a history of happy feet and staring down receivers.
The force is strong with the Raiders defense
Defensively, Gus Bradley has devised a successful strategy to contain and limit Lamar Jackson before. The Ravens are without any of their top three running backs, rookie first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman, backup and blocking tight end Nick Boyle, and Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters, all due to injury.
Greg Roman’s (Raven’s offensive coordinator) passing attack has been severely limited and frightfully basic in the past. Heading into Monday’s contest, he only has Mark Andrews, Sammy Watkins, and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown as his first string skill position players complimenting Jackson. Scoring should be hard to come by for an offense left depending on the quarterback to have to do everything.
Two-headed monster gets neck room…
Josh Jacobs has been reported as having an illness which has downgraded his status in Monday’s game. The two-headed monster of Jacobs and Kenyon Drake, is going to have to wait a week to be displayed. At this time, Jacobs hasn’t been completely ruled out, but he definitely isn’t trending in the right direction. It’s not Jacobs fault he got ill, but with a young run-blocking oriented line, they needed him. The Raiders now nearly have an equal amount of question marks.
Final prediction for the Raiders
With all that has transpired in the last few days, this game has become as easy to call as a Las Vegas crapshoot. It literally could go anyway due to the plethora of injuries and illnesses on both sides. With that being said, the Raiders win 21-17.
*Top Photo: Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal