The Oakland Raiders became the first team in NFL history to begin a season and not have an interception through nine games. When is that first pick coming?
It’s a strange part to the 2017 Oakland Raiders season for sure. The Raiders are in rare company, as in they are by themselves with this one. Oakland is the first team in NFL history to have not recorded an interception in its first nine games of a season.
Now that Oakland is on its annual bye in Week 10, Raider Nation will have to wait until Nov. 19 to maybe see a defensive back pick off an errant throw by Tom Brady down in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. With as efficient of a passer as Brady is, that’s probably not going to happen. So when will the Raiders end this ridiculous interception drought? How long could it continue?
While Oakland could get the best of Brady by jumping a route, the next best chance for the Raiders to record its first interception of the year comes in Week 12. Oakland will be hosting a major rival in the reeling Denver Broncos.
This game will be at home for the Silver and Black. Not only is Denver essentially in free fall, having lost four games in row, the Broncos are now having to start Brock Osweiler. Denver’s early season starter Trevor Siemian has been benched in favor of Osweiler, who couldn’t stick in Houston or Cleveland before making his way back to the Broncos for a second stint.
The Broncos don’t want to put second-year bust Paxton Lynch out there unless they absolutely have to, as he’s pretty banged up anyway. Ideally, home against Denver in Week 12 is the best next shot to end this awful Oakland interception drought. But what if Denver just decides to pound the rock? Who else could the Raiders pick off this season?
After that, just look ahead one week. The New York Giants will come to town and they are terrible. Eli Manning loves to throw picks. If Ben McAdoo wants to really rile up the New York media on his way out, let’s see if he’ll turn to rookie Davis Webb out of Cal versus the Raiders.
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If Oakland can’t pick off Brady, Osweiler or Manning, it might be a season long-streak for the Raiders. Weeks 14 through 16 feature efficient passers in Alex Smith, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz. Intercepting Wentz is probably the easiest of the three because he’s more of a gunslinger than Smith or Prescott. However, that game against the Philadelphia Eagles will be on the road at Lincoln Financial Field.
If for some reason the Raiders can’t get a pick in its first 15 games of the season, let’s hope Philip Rivers throws a YOLO ball in Week 17. The rival Los Angeles Chargers will likely be eliminated from playoff contention by then. Rivers tends to play from behind a lot with the Chargers. Like Manning, he will throw a pick or three a game.
To bring it all back home, Oakland’s best shots to get a pick are in Weeks 12 and 13 at home versus the Broncos and Giants. Could we see the first team in NFL history to go the entire season without forcing an interception? That would be so embarrassing. We can’t rule it out though…