The Oakland Raiders are back stateside for a Sunday afternoon contest against the Carolina Panthers. Here are three keys to victory.
Whew that was a close one. It wasn’t pretty but the OAKLAND RAIDERS are 8-2 and in first place of the AFC West!
Here are some keys for the Raiders to go 9-2.
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Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) flips the ball after a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Limit Greg Olsen
This has to be the first key to victory because the Raiders defense is still having a problem with tight ends. It doesn’t have to be a big name at the position, either — no name guys are tearing up this defense and it has to stop.
Greg Olsen is one of the premiere guys at his position and happens to be the favorite target of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The Raiders will be seeing a lot of Olsen this week, which is a bad recipe for the Oakland defense.
Olsen leads the league at the position with 746 yards, and he also has 3 touchdowns. Olsen is also a playmaker, with 9 receptions for 20+ yards. He’ll be a great fantasy option this week.
Oakland of course understands that Olsen is the top threat in the Carolina passing game and will probably key on him a lot. The focus on Olsen will help others get open, so the Raiders need to be weary of Carolina going over the top with the speed of Ted Ginn Jr.
While I want the Raiders to completely stop Olsen, they can only limit him to give them a chance at another win.
Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) congratulates wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) after Cooper made a second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Get the WR Core Going Again
Coming off the bye week you would think the Raiders had a good game plan going into Mexico City. They came out with a bang on the first drive but after that, they went flat and had several drives killed by drops.
Crabtree especially was very lackluster, dropping passes, slipping all over the place and failing to make plays or affect the game. That has to change this week.
Maybe the altitude messed with “King Crab” more than others, but hopefully he’s back to the player we know he can be vs. Carolina.
Amari Cooper got going against the Texans but not until the fourth quarter. #Clutch.
Against Carolina, this has to happen sooner. Cooper had one reception in the first half, so the Raiders have to get him the ball earlier. He was limited in practice all week so perhaps Cooper has a nagging injury — although he didn’t seem injured on that TD catch.
Seth Roberts also had his fair share of issues, dropped multiple passes. He is a big play waiting to happen at times, but still struggles with consistency of his hands.
With the backfield doing most of the damage last week in the passing game, this week the perimeter guys will have to step up with guys like Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson covering running backs and the middle of the field.
Nov 17, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs the ball in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Saints 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t Let Cam Turn Into SuperCam
Last year’s MVP Cam Newton comes to town, and while he might not be putting up flashy numbers like last year, he is still the player of that level of ability and he can bring it any game.
Cam can attack you with his arm at any level of the field and is arguably the best running quarterback the game has ever seen. On the year, Cam has thrown for 2,180 yards with 11 TDs and 7 INTs.
The problem isn’t just Cam, it is also the supporting cast around him. He may have the worst offensive line in the league, which is music to the ears of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. If the Raiders secondary can hold off against Olsen and Contain/Spy Cam, they’ll have the opportunity for sacks all game long.
Outside of Cam’s tight end, he lacks elite talent for support. While Ginn Jr. can stretch the field, he is DHB like with his hands. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess matchup pretty well with the Oakland cornerbacks, so that physical battles will be something to keep an eye on.
Don’t let Cam be “Super Cam” and you win, plain and simple.
The Raiders can’t rest on their laurels in this division with the Chiefs and Broncos nipping at their heels every week. They need another win here.
I could write in a key to victory about the defense every week but we are 8-2 and I couldn’t be happier.