The Oakland Raiders fell to the Buffalo Bills last week just 10 days after it looked like they got their season back on track by beating the Kansas City Chiefs.
Following last week’s loss, the Raiders flew to Sarasota, Fla. where they spent the week preparing to take on the Miami Dolphins instead of flying back to California.
The Raiders have yet to record an interception this year but hope to get their first against quarterback Jay Cutler, who is prone to turnovers. That said, the Raiders defense will have to do it without two of their top cornerbacks in Gareon Conley and veteran David Amerson. The Raiders will get some help at the safety position with rookie Obi Melifonwu coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list.
The Oakland secondary will go up against a couple of tough wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker. Both Parker and Landry have the home run ability and are dangerous after the catch. The Raiders secondary must make sure they keep the speedy wide receivers in front of them to avoid the home run ability.
Khalil Mack and the Raiders defensive line will face a bit of an unknown rushing attack after head coach Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins traded away star running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week. Instead, Cutler will hand the ball off to the tandem of Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams.
Drake has been in the league for just two years and only carried the ball 43 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Williams is a more capable receiver, hauling in 73 receptions for 628 yards and five touchdowns in his four years in the league. Williams has also rushed the ball 99 times for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Gase is capable of turning to either running back at any time and the Raiders must stay prepared for either one.
The Dolphins offensive line has also struggled for much of the year, leaving them vulnerable to Mack and the Raiders pass rush. The Raiders have struggled to record sacks this season and could get back on track against a porous Dolphins offensive line.
On offense, the Raiders will get veteran running back Marshawn Lynch back after he served his one-game suspension during the team’s loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. Getting Lynch back will give Todd Downing a full backfield to attack on the ground, though they’ll go up against the 8th best rush defense in the league (allowing just 95 yards per game).
Quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders wide receivers will go up against the 10th best pass defense in the Miami Dolphins as well. The Dolphins are allowing just 210 passing yards per game.
The Raiders will have a much-needed bye week next week before going to Mexico City to take on the New England Patriots on Nov. 19.