Derek Carr’s star is shining brighter than ever, heading into Week 5. His spot at number one in passing yards and completions for 20+ yards makes Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders look good.
The Raiders’ offense is, at first glance, quite incredible. There’s talent all over the place. Coach Gruden has some work to do, though, after some roster cuts at the start of the month. While getting more playmakers made sense, there’s some doubt surrounding the defense, the most likely cause for significant changes in NFL betting trends for the team.
Jefferson and Ngakoue might not be enough to bolster the defense. Ngakoue has missed 21 tackles since 2019 and had five in the red zone last season. With that said, here’s why I still have faith in the Raiders.
Jon Gruden Builds a Strong Offense
Darren Waller is killing it. He’s averaging 99.8 receiving yards and seven receptions for 20+ yards per game since Week 16 of the 2020 season. I believe the Raiders’ offense can dismantle any negative perception from previous seasons with Carr at the helm.
My skepticism truly disappeared when I looked a bit deeper. The Raiders wide receivers gained 855 yards on 53 receptions. That’s 16.1 yards per reception, currently the best in the NFL.
As a team, the Raiders have a total of 89 1st downs, allowing 84 from opponents. They’ve run 281 plays and have 1626 total offensive yards for an average of 5.8 each.
They’ve got 1204 passing yards with eight touchdowns through the air and 322 rushing yards providing three touchdowns. This is with an inconsistent offensive line.
The kicker, Daniel Carlson, is also a dependable player. He’s made nine of his ten field goals.
A Slightly Unstable Defense
Despite my previous doubts, the Raiders defense is performing quite well. When I say well, though, I mean in comparison to prior seasons.
This year, the Raiders are 14th in pass yards allowed. Last year, the Raiders finished the season ranked 24th. The defense also finished 2020 with the third-most points scored against them. This year, they’re 19th.
These aren’t great numbers, but they are a significant improvement from last year.
Jon Gruden’s Raiders are struggling to keep opponents in check. The defense has allowed 20+ yard rushes five times this season, tying them for most allowed yards along with the Dolphins. Linebackers Perryman and Littleton are standing out as two stars on defense, though. They have a combined 54 tackles so far this season. In Week 4, Robertson recorded six tackles, as well.
The talent is all there. Coach Gruden has to find a way to put the pieces together, form a wall, and hold the line.
Expectations for Week 5
Jon Gruden made swaps at the start of the season, which made quite a few Las Vegas Raiders fans nervous about the team’s potential and sports betting odds. While some of that skepticism might be valid regarding the defense, the offense has exceeded expectations.
If Waller maintains his current performance, the receivers continue to play well, and there’s a bit more motivation on the defense, I expect great things from the Raiders. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raiders Super Bowl odds change significantly and relatively soon.
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