It’s tough to say that a game in Week 3 is a must-win. But what else would you call it at this point? The Las Vegas Raiders have dug themselves a deep hole. And in this daunting division, they must win this game to begin to dig themselves out. Everybody has seen the stats about making the playoffs after starting 0-2. It’s even worse at 0-3.
The Silver and Black and the Tennessee Titans both have losses that should have been won this season. Really, their seasons have been very similar. Both played a “Super Bowl Contender” away and have played a game they should have won at home. Playing this Sunday afternoon in Tennessee, it’s two 2021 playoff teams that either inject life into their program or start looking at the draft. So, here are three bold predictions going into this AFC matchup.
Derek Carr will throw for 3+ touchdowns
It’s kind of disappointing that this is considered a “bold take.” According to Pro Football Reference, the last time Derek Carr threw more than two touchdowns was in Week 13 of the 2020 season. That is 655 days since this was written, but who’s counting? This week, with a possibly depleted Titans secondary, Carr finally breaks that streak. By hitting Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Josh Jacobs for scores, Carr will finally break that disgusting streak of two or fewer touchdown passes. And during all the excitement, Carr really shows his command of the offense.
Chandler Jones (finally) shows up big time
Rewind to Week 1 of the 2021 season, and Chandler Jones absolutely showed out. Jones put up five sacks against the Titans in a 38-13 win for the Arizona Cardinals. However, in the 2022 season, Chandler has yet to be seen (a missing person’s report might be needed). That will not be the case this upcoming week, though. Jones will run through a depleted Tennessee offensive line. He may not rack up five sacks, but he will continuously put pressure on Ryan Tannehill, bring him down a couple of times, and finally get his first sack (maybe more) of the season.
The Raiders stomp the Titans
I’m relatively certain the last time I said this was for the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Allegiant. Whoops. Nonetheless, this week they’ll do it. Following two frustrating losses, while being on the cusp of winning both, the Raiders will lay the hammer down. The offense finally figures out its identity. The rushing and passing attacks complement each other throughout the game. The defense gets a couple of turnovers and the necessary stops. It’s a clean and complete football game for the Silver and Black. Raider Nation can let out a collective sigh of relief.
The tin can of whoop-a**waits for no man. And I think this week the Raiders are giving it out. They have talent coming out of their a****, high expectations of winning, and playoff aspirations. They need to find their groove this week to turn this ship back around. Starting 0-3 in their division cannot happen. Winning this game, against the 2021 one seed in the AFC, can bring confidence to every aspect of this Raiders team. And they’re going to need it if they want to remain in the 2022 race.
*Top Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group