Oakland Raiders: Week 1 Stat Predictions

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Aug 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr

As a rookie in 2014, Carr threw for 3,270 yards on 348-0f-599 passing with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Though he was often criticized for his low average yards per attempt stat (5.5), Carr was surrounded by poorly talented running backs and wide receivers. Fortunately, times are changing for Carr and the Silver and Black.

Oakland added former San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree via free agency this offseason, while also drafting Cooper out of Alabama with the fourth selection in the 2015 NFL draft. Both new receivers have had an impressive offseason, as the two are projected to start alongside each other in Week 1.

Crabtree adds a veteran presence to a relatively young receiving corps, and the former 2009 first-round pick is a proven possession receiver with great ability to run after the catch. He and Cooper will serve as reliable targets on third-downs, and in turn, Oakland should see dramatic improvement from their poor third-down conversion percentage in 2014 (33).

With an increased conversion percentage on third downs, Carr will be able to lead the Raiders’ offense further down the field more consistently, which should also increase the amount of time Carr spends in the red zone.

NFL writer Bryn Swartz recently brought attention to Carr’s success in the red zone last season via twitter.

Though all the signs point to Carr having a much improved season in 2015, he will still have his hands full against Cincinnati’s physical defense.

Despite finishing the 2014 season as the No. 20 ranked defense in total passing yards allowed, the Bengals still were ranked No. 3 in both passing touchdowns allowed (18) and total interceptions (20).

On a lighter note, Cincinnati finished dead last in total sacks (20) in 2014. With the added time in the pocket, Carr will have the opportunity to go through all of his reads and make an unforced decision. Carr’s ability to stay comfortable in the pocket and hit all of his throws will be a major factor in the outcome of this game.

Stat Prediction: 

21/31 for 285 yards with 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Next: Week 1 Predictions: Khalil Mack