With only two games left in the season, the Las Vegas Raiders get ready to round out their season with a matchup against the 11-4 San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers and Raiders have had two very different seasons, with the former being the better half. Unfortunately, that’s been a theme throughout the past two decades or so. Yet the Raiders are somehow still alive, and they come into this week with a win-or-go-home mindset. To help them grab that elusive victory, here are three weaknesses they can attack on the 49ers’ roster.
Can the new Raiders’ QB do anything against that secondary?
Across the board, the 49ers’ defense has been elite at almost every level. They sport one of the best defenses in the league, one that is full of playmakers. However, their defense has given up the seventh-most passing yards per attempt. They’ve struggled without players like Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley, showing that on a defense full of depth, this may be one of their weak links.
This is an area the Raiders have struggled with as of late. We’ve all seen Derek Carr’s recent struggles, but those struggles seem to exist among the entire passing attack as a whole. The Raiders haven’t had a lot of time with a completely healthy offense, but they have it now. However, Jarrett Stidham is now at the helm.
All of those pieces will have to play well and cohesively to take advantage of San Francisco’s limited depth in the secondary.
The 49ers’ rookie QB
This is not a knock on Brock Purdy at all; he has been one of the most exciting rookies in the league. Purdy has seemed to fit seamlessly into Kyle Shanahan’s offense. However, the fact still remains that San Francisco has a very inexperienced quarterback at the helm.
To exploit this alleged weakness, the Raiders must correctly disguise their coverages. If Patrick Graham rolls out basic, easy-to-diagnose coverages, Brock will continue to play at a high level. Graham and the defense must be able to confuse Purdy if they want a chance to win. Additionally, Purdy has played well partly due to the fact that the run game has been able to dominate, taking some weight off their shoulders. If Las Vegas can stop the run, they’ll put much more pressure on Purdy than he’s faced up until now.
The 49ers don’t have aÂ badÂ offensive line, by any means. The unit has helped Christian McCaffrey and the rest of the running back room have successful years. They’ve also helped the newbie in the backfield, Brock Purdy, stay protected. Still, this unit isn’t necessarily up to par with a team of their caliber. They’ve dealt with injuries to star Trent Williams and some others across the unit. Aside from that, the line is a bit inexperienced.
As was the case with Purdy, the best way to attack this weakness will be to change up the defensive schemes. An unexpected blitz or drop into coverage can be devastating for an offensive line and can often destroy a play from the get-go. By changing up their schemes on defense, the Raiders can confuse both the offensive line and the quarterback, disrupting the entire offense.
*Top Photo: Caean Couto/AP