Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins will put on a show for Sunday Night Football

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Derek Carr No. 4 of the Oakland Raiders passes the ball against the New York Jets at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Derek Carr No. 4 of the Oakland Raiders passes the ball against the New York Jets at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

We’ve got a strong quarterback matchup in Week 3 on Sunday Night Football when Derek Carr’s Oakland Raiders take on Kirk Cousins’ Washington Redskins.

Sunday Night Football between the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins has to be one of the best games of the Week 3 slate. NBC picked a good one for primetime. Kickoff will be at 5:30 p.m. PT, 8:30 p.m. ET at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. This game will be about the two starting quarterbacks: Derek Carr for the Raiders and Kirk Cousins for the Redskins.

Though the Raiders are 2-0, we haven’t seen Carr carry the Oakland offense just yet. Well, that’s because he hasn’t had to. The defense and special teams were tremendous in Week 1 versus the Tennessee Titans. Last week at home against the New York Jets, Michael Crabtree was making all the touchdown grabs and the Raiders ran the ball down New York’s throat.

Washington finds itself at 1-1 with a bad first loss at home to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles and a resilient Week 2 victory on the road over the Los Angeles Rams. The Redskins have the pass rush and are starting to come together offensively after losing former offensive coordinator Sean McVay to the Rams head coaching gig.

In essence, this is a prove-it game for both teams. For Oakland, getting to 3-0 has to put the Silver and Black without debate among the NFL elite. To win on the road in a tough environment like Washington in primetime would be the biggest win of the season so far for Oakland.

For Washington, getting to 2-1 with a road victory over the Rams and a win at home over an excellent Raiders team has the Redskins right in the mix to contend in the NFC East. What this game will come down to is who plays better at the quarterback position on Sunday: Carr or Cousins?

Oakland probably has the best offensive line in football through two weeks. The Raiders can dictate terms no matter who they are matched up in the trenches. That being said, Washington will try to get after Carr with Ryan Kerrigan and company. It will be loud at FedEx, which could take Oakland’s ability to lean on the rushing attack out of the game.

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That means Carr will have to likely put up 300 yards passing to beat the Redskins in primetime. To be fair, Washington doesn’t have an elite secondary. However, Josh Norman is outstanding at cornerback for them. He will likely neutralize part of the field on Sunday night, force Carr to be even more precise with his throws.

Carr will have to look to stretch the field vertically with his arm. He has not attempt a pass of 20 yards or more down field so far this season. That will have to change versus Washington on Sunday. This feels like a game where Carr will need to look to air it out on a few occasions.

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Cousins hasn’t played as well as Carr this season, but is poised to have a good game sooner or later. He struggled in Week 1 versus Philadelphia and was essentially a game manager on last Sunday against the Rams.

Though he is not as talented as Carr, Cousins tends to elevate his play in big spots. This is a game where he can win back ownership and the Washington faithful.

Oakland will presumably have a lead in this game. That means Cousins will air it out to mount a furious comeback. Is Oakland’s secondary ready for the challenge against one of the most precise passers in the NFC?

In a way, we can liken this game to what we saw on Sunday Night Football last week in Atlanta. Aaron Rodgers versus Matt Ryan is a more high-profile matchup than Carr versus Cousins. However, we could see a game with over 600 combined passing yards between Oakland and Washington.

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Sunday Night Football in Week 3 should be a game to watch if you love good quarterback play. This will not be a low-scoring affair. It would be shocking if both teams don’t get into the end zone at least three times. A primetime shootout featuring two of the most iconic NFL franchises, what’s not to love?