3rd in AFC West
Last game: Home loss to Atlanta Falcons (1-1), 35-28
Next game: at Tennessee Titans (1-1) — Sunday, September 25 at 1:00PM EST
The Raiders also had a great comeback win in Week 1, with coach Jack Del Rio gaining legendary status by risking the game on successful two-point conversion in the last minute.
“Black” Jack Del Rio’s rep as a riverboat gambler continued into the Falcons game, where it paid off again with a TD from the 2-yard line in the first half.
However, Del Rio and the Raiders’ short yardage luck would run out in what would be a crucial call late in the game. The Raiders opted to go for 4th & 2 at midfield, and were stopped. That gave the Falcons the ball, and as they had all day — like the Saints before them — they marched down on a seemingly invisible Raiders defense and scored a touchdown to extend the lead to 14 points.
The Raiders are currently first in the NFL in total offense, with 470 yards per game. That is quite impressive, and they’ve done it both in the running game — second in the NFL, 161 yards per game at 6.3 ypc, and the passing game — sixth in the NFL at 309 yards per game.
Carr has a QB rating of 107.4. The offensive line, despite injuries and shuffling, has been incredible in the run game and kept Carr clean all season.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the defense.
Oakland unfortunately is also first in the NFL in most yards allowed, and second in points against. They’ve allowed over 500 yards in each of their first two games — the first time that’s been done in the NFL since the merger!
Much maligned offseason signee Sean Smith has been torched routinely at cornerback this season. Khalil Mack has zero sacks and just three hits through two games and hasn’t really been a factor in the run game either.
The Falcons ran all day to the edge, which is where Mack is supposed to roost. This defense has been bad at all three levels — Del Rio benched Smith in the first game, and took over play-calling late in the Atlanta game.
Many have been quick to point the finger at Ken Norton Jr., the Raiders defensive coordinator. But Norton has a Super Bowl ring as a defensive coach and comes from a system that knows defense. Del Rio and Norton were both Pro Bowl ‘backers as players. There is really no excuse for what is happening.
The Raiders defense can continue to put up 28+ points all season long, but if their defense can’t stop anybody, their chances of making the playoffs — let alone challenging for the division title — seems pretty unrealistic.
The Titans will give them a formidable test, as shown in Week 3 of the preseason. That’s when concerns about the Raiders defense originally began to surface after Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry ran and threw all over the Raiders at will and scored 21 points in the first half on the first team defense.
Those concerns haven’t been alleviated, and the Titans gutted out a tough win last week and are coming home with confidence. The Raiders also enter a tough stretch of road games in the next few weeks, and really need this win to regain their confidence and keep on track toward their goal of a playoff spot.