1st Place in AFC West
Last Game: defeated Houston (6-4) 27-20 in Mexico City
Next Game: vs. Carolina Panthers (4-6) Sunday, November 27th at 4:25pm EST
The Raiders got just enough offense when it counted from Derek Carr and Amari Cooper to pull the Monday night game out in Houston.
Did Akeem Hunt get the first down? The call on field was no. Replay review said no. It’s one of those plays that if it’s called the other way, you can’t really argue. But it wasn’t. So advantage Raiders.
Any controversy aside, the defense again deserves praise for coming up with a key stop when it counted. They’ve been doing that a lot recently.
Did Nuk Hopkins step out of bounds? Again, if they let it go it’s too close to overturn and you can’t argue. But they didn’t. There are pictures around that show his foot seemingly out. There is video where he appears in-bounds the entire time.
You can only play the game in front of you and the Raiders should make no apologies for benefitting from two close calls. We all know enough calls have gone the other way in Oakland’s history. The point is, this team made the most of gifts they were given.
A well-travelled and vocal Raider Nation loved every second of it. After years of suffering this fan base isn’t apologizing for anything and loving every minute of it.
Again Carr showed he’s clutch, and again the Raiders showed they can win any type of game. This was a fairly sloppy affair, the Raiders getting stopped in the run game while allowing some yardage on the ground to Lamar Miller.
One game removed from 218 tough yards against a good Broncos defense, the Raiders couldn’t muster 50 — they had 35 — and were largely one-dimensional. With some runs called at questionable times and down and distance, this was not Bill Musgrave’s greatest game of 2016.
Jadeveon Clowney is turning into the player the Texans hoped for when they drafted him #1 overall. He was a game-wrecker from the first play from scrimmage, when he dropped Jalen Richard for a loss. Donald Penn struggled for the first time this season as Clowney manhandled him much of the night, and was the main reason the Raiders couldn’t run the ball.
This weekend, the Raiders get a Panthers team coming off long rest and a tight win over New Orleans. Carolina’s defense has greatly improved since their week 8 bye, but they may be without their most important piece.
Luke Kuechly is still in concussion protocol, and as of this writing there is no timetable for his return. Kuechly is one of the best — if not the best — and most versatile linebackers in football, and definitely the heart of the Panthers defense.
They will still have their soul in Thomas Davis, an ageless wonder who is apparently getting better as time wears on. But without Kuechly the Raiders should re-establish their running game and assert some early will.
That is important, because despite their 4-6 record Carolina is a dangerous team with Cam Newton leading the charge and a stout defense even without Kuechly in the middle. The Raiders need this game to maintain or increase their lead. With Denver and KC playing each other, it’s all the more important.