The Las Vegas Raiders are dealing with another internal distraction with the recent arrest and subsequent release of wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. Fans and critics alike doubt the Raiders can continue the season in a positive direction. However, their first opportunity to silence those critics comes today.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you know about the drama surrounding the Raiders and Ruggs. The team has, without a doubt, been dealing with constant questions, comments, and criticisms regarding Ruggs’ release from the team and his high-profile arrest. The locker room has already had to deal with distractions following Jon Gruden’s resignation, and now, another distraction has found its way to Vegas.
The game goes on…
Before the bye week, the Raiders were standing at 5-2. Many were predicting a favorable second half of the season due to recent victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos. The question now arises; can the Raiders overcome the distractions, anger, and sadness to win an East Coast travel game against the struggling Giants?
The Giants are currently not playing great football, partially due to the nagging injuries to their receiving corps and defense. The Giants, however, just came off a close loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. While the Chiefs also are not playing at their usual high level, the Giants still gave them a fight. The Giants are capable of putting points on the board, and their defense has shown the ability to stop the run and put pressure on receivers. On Monday Night Football, we saw the Giants limit All-Pro Travis Kelce to four receptions for a whopping 27 yards.
What about the offense?
Ruggs was a key cog in the Raiders offense, and while I can’t say he won’t be missed, the other offensive starters on this team can step up and fill the void. Everyone throughout the league is waiting to see if the Raiders can respond after another week of turmoil and constant non-football-related news coverage. If they do, they’ll bring their record to 6-2 and maintain a top position in the AFC.
We saw the Raiders drop what should have been a win against the Chicago Bears in Week 5, and many analysts/writers, myself included, believed it had something to do with the Gruden fiasco. Hopefully, the Raiders can gather their focus quickly and focus on what energy they have left on their duel against the Giants today.
Ruggs is gone and will not be returning, but the Raiders can still move forward. At the end of the day, Just Win, Baby!
*Top Photo: Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders