Oakland Raiders’ offense must get creative without Marshawn Lynch

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Marshawn Lynch
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Marshawn Lynch /

The Oakland Raiders will need to find creative ways to score points without having starting running back Marshawn Lynch available for Week 8 versus Buffalo.

From the moment he ran on to the field to protect his cousin in Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, the Oakland Raiders probably knew that running back Marshawn Lynch was going to end up being suspended for the incident on Thursday Night Football.

Once he shoved the official, there was no hope for Lynch to have his one-game suspension overturned for Week 8. While the Raiders thoroughly enjoyed their upset win over the rival Chiefs on Thursday, they have known for several days that Lynch would likely be suspended. Lynch did appeal, but it was obviously not overturned.

So what are the Raiders going to do on Sunday when they take on a formidable 4-2 Buffalo Bills team in Orchard Park, presumably in the rain? Well, let’s hope offensive coordinator Todd Downing has a few tricks up his sleeve because he’ll need them to beat the Bills on the road.

Oakland was able to carve up the Chiefs defense last week, but the Bills have played well in the secondary under their new coaching regime. We can’t say enough about the good job head coach Sean McDermott and his staff are doing in Western New York. The Bills look to be a legit playoff contender this year.

To beat Buffalo on Sunday, the Raiders need another great game out of starting quarterback Derek Carr. He needs to be especially precise with his passing, probably targeting wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Jared Cook on quick passing patterns.

Oakland will have Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington available in the backfield, but neither are as physically imposing as Lynch. Maybe Downing uses his fullback Jamize Olawale more, or even has tight end Lee Smith as an extra blocker to help get the ground game going?

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Of course, Downing loves to use Cordarrelle Patterson as a runner out of the backfield. The question is if the Bills have enough tape on these designed runs to limit its overall effectiveness. Oakland has been successful with Patterson in the running game, but he’s only good for a big run or two per game.

Overall, Oakland will need to play a conservative game offensively, especially if the weather is horrible. That being said, the Raiders shouldn’t be afraid for the occasional big splash play. Maybe Carr can find his favorite deep target in wide receiver Amari Cooper for a big touchdown when Oakland needs it most?

Frankly, the Raiders need the defense to show up to big time to help out the limited Raiders offense on Sunday. With 10 days to prepare, maybe inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will have enough time to lead by example as the new leader of the Raiders defense?

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We can’t expect Oakland to put up 31 points on the road in the rain against Buffalo. However, there is a path to victory without Lynch in the lineup: hold the Bills to under 21 points. Oakland has enough offensive talent to score three touchdowns and sneak out a win on Sunday. Let’s just hope the Silver and Black take their A game to Western New York. They will need it to win in Week 8.