Las Vegas Raiders: Takeaways from the 2022 preseason and looking ahead
Comparisons with other undefeated preseason teams
Comparing the undefeated ’22 Raiders preseason to the ’08 Lions preseason
The Lions played in nail biters each week, excluding a 26-6 contest against the Browns who would finish the ’08 season an abysmal 4-12 regardless. Even their 27-10 win against Cincinnati was a result of scoring 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter after being neck-and-neck all game.
Their quarterback, Dan Orlovsky, posted a completion percentage of 50% that game, connecting on only 11 out of 22 passes.
In fact, Orlovsky flirted with a 50% completion percentage all preseason. Against the Bills, he was one pass away from dropping to this number, going a lackluster 11-of-21. It was quite clear Orlovsky was never going to make things happen for Detroit, despite this perfect preseason record.
Not so shockingly, that’s exactly what happened, even mirroring his preseason completion percentage by posting a mark of 56.1% – the fourth-lowest in the league.
The Raiders have had neither of those problems. Not only have they jumped on teams from the beginning, going back to Stidham’s unreal 75% of drives ending in the red zone via the Raiders’ first two drives of each preseason contest, but Stidham has been marvelous, only coming close to 50% passing one single time with the remaining 3 contests above 66%.
And, oh ya – Stidham isn’t even the starter, unlike Orlovsky.
Even if Stidham was the starter for Las Vegas, though, it would remain crystal clear that the trajectory of the Raiders was much different than the 2008 Lions who ended their preseason undefeated. The ’08 Lions [preseason] serves as a perfect example of why film trumps numbers. The numbers were there for Detroit in the preseason, but the film never was. The 2022 Raiders have both.
Comparing the undefeated ’22 Raiders preseason to the ’17 Browns preseason
A lot of what was said about the ’08 Lions can be found in the ’17 Browns. Outside of a week-4 matchup against Chicago, who finished the season 5-11, the Browns hosted close contests all the way through.
Against the Saints, 2-of-3 quarterbacks in Cleveland finished the day completing 50% of their passes or less. No quarterback in Las Vegas sank to 50% on any occasion, including Nick Mullens who was cut after 3 contests. In fact, of the 11 individual quarterback performances throughout the preseason, only twice did any Raider finish the day with a completion percentage under 66%.
In Tampa Bay during week-2, only one Browns’ QB completed more than 53% of their passes, and it was their third-string quarterback who logged a percentage of 60%. Again, through the Raiders’ 11 individual quarterback performances, only twice did a QB complete less than 66% of their passes. None of the 3 Browns’ signal callers hit this mark once during their first two preseason contests despite each playing in both.
Again – this is another reminder film always trumps numbers. The film was never there for the Browns (in fact, the numbers weren’t either), but the team still finished 4-0. The Raiders situation is very different, having both the film and the numbers on their side. Not comparable to either team’s undefeated preseason.