Buy or Sell: Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
Buy or Sell is a weekly series that will examine statements about the Oakland Raiders and provide a “buy” or “sell” response. This is the Week 9 edition.
The Oakland Raiders (7-2) claimed the sole lead in the AFC West beneath a national spotlight, as they defeated the Denver Broncos (6-3) in front a home crowd on Sunday Night football in Week 9, 30-20.
Only some of the Raiders’ fans remember this level of success coming from the Black Hole, leaving the rest of the fanbase to rejoice in unmatched optimism.
In an effort to keep the Raider Nation from reserving Super Bowl tickets, we examine some of the thoughts and opinions that have been discussed after Oakland’s biggest win of the season.
A statement will be given, and the answer will be given in a Buy/Sell format.
The Raiders are a Lock for the Playoffs.
Nothing is guaranteed in this league, especially a playoff birth for an organization that has been on the outside looking in since 2002.
Yes, the Raiders are off to their best start since their Super Bowl appearance at the conclusion of the 2002 season, but their postseason aspirations will remain aspirations until they add a few more tallies to their win column.
With their win over the Broncos, Oakland is on the right track in terms of earning a spot in the playoffs, but their remaining schedule is capable of derailing the Silver and Black and halting their momentum.
After the bye week, the Raiders will travel to Mexico City to take on a struggling Houston Texans team that has yet to win on the road this season, but the fiesta won’t follow Oakland back into the United States.
Following what should be their eighth win of the season against the Texans, Oakland will square off against the Carolina Panthers (3-5) and the Buffalo Bills (4-4) before taking on all three of their division rivals on the road in their last four games of the season.
The Raiders will need to come out of that six-game stretch with at least two to three wins if they are going to secure a postseason appearance — a feat far from guaranteed.
Marquette King to Join “Dancing with the Stars”.
Raiders punter Marquette King averaged 42.3 yards on four punts, two of which pinned the Broncos’ offense inside the five-yard line. However, his strong performance between the whistles isn’t what pushed his name into the headlines.
King ignited the crowd with his celebratory efforts after Raiders receiver Andre Holmes downed his punt on the Denver two-yard line early in the third quarter.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 7, 2016
Regardless of whether or not King’s antics earn him a spot on Dancing with the Stars in 2017, he has earned the right to ride an imaginary pony into the sidelines with his outstanding play this season.
The Oakland Raiders are the Top Team in the AFC West
Though they have ascended to the top spot in the AFC West with their win over the Broncos, the Raiders are still buckled into the backseat within the division, as the Kansas City Chiefs have earned the driver’s seat.
In Week 6, Oakland fell flat on their face at home against the Chiefs, dropping the contest 26-10. And, if Kansas City defeats the Panthers on the road in Week 10, they will replace the Raiders as the top team in the AFC West.
Also, since their bye week in Week 5, the Chiefs have strung together a four-game winning streak, averaging a 10.75 point differential in that span.
In Week 9, the Chiefs earned a 19-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars without starters Alex Smith and Spencer Ware, as their replacements Nick Foles and Charcandrick West kept the offense afloat to keep their winning streak alive.
With Kansas City showing no signs of slowing down, Oakland must prove they can keep up if they are going to finish the regular season in front of the Chiefs.
The two powerhouses will go head-to-head on Thursday Night Football on December 8th.
Latavius Murray Cemented in the Raiders’ Future Plans.
Buy (If the price is right).
With lead back Latavius Murray (26) nearing the end of his rookie contract with Oakland, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie will decide to either let Murray test the free agent market in 2017 or keep the “Tay Train” on track with the Raiders.
After Murray’s strong performance against Denver, McKenzie should lean towards the latter.
Murray rolled over the Broncos’ defense for a season-high 114 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on 20 carries.
With rookie backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington adding a change of pace to Oakland’s backfield, Murray’s play has dramatically improved, effectively turning what was the 28th ranked rushing offense (91.1 YPG) in 2015 into the 4th ranked rushing attack (127.8 YPG) through nine games this season.
Murray leads Oakland’s three-headed monster with 89 carries for 393 yards and 8 touchdowns.
On the other hand, Oakland’s offensive line has done a majority of the work for the Raiders’ ball carriers, as they have opened up massive running lanes all season long, and 2017 NFL draft class is loaded with NFL-caliber talent that could have similar success behind the Raiders’ big, physical offensive line.
With that being said, if Murray allows other teams to swell his ego, his asking price could push McKenzie off of the “Tay Train”, especially with the Raiders’ other franchise pieces (Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson) expected to earn lucrative contracts in the near future.
Because of his recent efforts, Murray has asserted himself as a priority free agent signing for McKenzie this offseason, and he should return to the Raiders barring that he doesn’t value greenbacks over the Silver and Black when the season comes to a close.