Oakland Raiders Week 2 Preview: Keys to the Game

4 of 7

September 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) receives the hand off from quarterback Derek Carr (4) against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Raiders Run Game

While the Raiders may have an easier time throwing the ball without Terrell Suggs running down Derek Carr, the Raider offense will not be successful with another lackluster rushing performance like what they showed last week against the Bengals.

Last week the Raiders rushed the ball 16 times and either threw a pass or were sacked 45, with 46 total dropbacks and 15 called run plays (aside from those negated by penalties). Starting the second half down 24-0, the Raiders abandoned the run, running the ball only four times in the last 30 minutes of action.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

But the abandonment of the run game isn’t the run game’s fault, per se. While Raider running backs managed 12 carries for a mere 43 yards in the first half, in the early going the Raiders did have some success running the ball on first down: Latavius Murray had five first down carries for 23 yards. Drives that were put in good positions by good runs early on were wiped out by penalties.

The Raiders will want to come out running early and often on the Ravens, despite a very tough interior defense. If the Raiders can manage to turn 1st and 10 into 2nd and 6 more often than not, it will help Derek Carr turn 2nd and 6 into 3rd and 1. And then the Raiders will need to figure out how to do something they could not do at all last week, and pick up first downs on the ground (they had one against Cincinnati).

Derek Carr has plenty of arm talent and can sling the ball around as well as anyone, but playing without a run game has hurt him throughout his time as a pro. The Raiders cannot have success if they don’t get the run game going and keep it going, using it to create easier 3rd down situations and control the clock while putting the team in position to score.

Next: Keys to the Game: Stop Justin Forsett