After a brutal 41-14 loss at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, playoff hopes are dwindling amongst the Las Vegas Raiders fan base. However, there is one saving grace that could carry them to the promised land.
Heading into their Week 10 game against the Chiefs, the Raiders were set to stand alone in the AFC West had they managed to win. However, that was not to be the outcome. This loss, in particular, felt heavier after nothing seemed to swing in the favor of the Silver and Black. From the penalties, an untimely fumble, a fake punt, and several miscues, it was evident a win was not in the cards.
Add this to an aggravating loss against the New York Giants the previous week; it’s no wonder why many feel as if this team is headed for another collapse and will miss the playoffs altogether. However, quarterback Derek Carr might be on to something in his claim that, “This group is different.”
Defense wins championships
Anyone who’s been a fan of football has probably heard the adage, “Defense wins championships” before. Super Bowl 50 might be the best example of this being true. That year the Carolina Panthers had the number one overall offense while the Denver Broncos had the fourth-best overall defense. That game ended with the Panthers only scoring a paltry 10 points.
While this Raiders defense might not be breaking any records anytime soon, this is one of the best defensive rosters they’ve had in a long time. In fact, according to PFF, the Raiders have the best past rushing defense in the league. Headlined by Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue; this might be the reason the Raiders have a shot at playing in January.
Crosby and Ngakoue are going to have to be the spearhead that drives the turnaround. Getting their side of the ball back to better football if they want to stand a chance. With the offense floundering a bit the past two weeks, the defense is going to have to pull a bit more weight until they find their footing on that side of the ball. While there is time left in the season, this needs to happen sooner rather than later, however.
A long way to go
The Raiders hold their fate in their hands. At the end of his press conference Wednesday, Carr said that “you are what you earn in this league,” and right now, they’ve earned third place. However, the season is not over quite yet. There is still time to find traction for that playoff push. There is still time to fix the mistakes. There is still time to play better football. That time is now, and it all has to start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
*Top Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images