Raiders QB Derek Carr vs. Broncos (Photo via Getty Images)
Ryan Lipton, the host of the JR Report podcast, breaks down the recent Oakland Raiders loss to the Washington Redskins and looks forward to the Week 4 AFC West matchup in Mile High against the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders should have and had every right to protest, however, it definitely took time away from focusing on the game and could have been mentally draining.
As such, the team played without a spark for the entire night.
Oakland usually plays with a certain edge, especially with running back Marshawn Lynch on the roster, making this game an anomaly as there will not be this much off the field emotion surrounding a game for a long time.
[irp posts=”13348″ name=”NFL: Ryan Lipton’s top 5 Week 3 picks against spread”]
The defense played admirably
Yes, the defense gave up 27 points on Sunday night, but it could have been much worse.
If one said the Raiders were going to be outgained by 344 yards, have three turnovers and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper would have just two receptions combined, one would think the team would have lost by over 30 points.
Instead, the defense held Washington to just 3.4 yards per carry in a game in which the unit was on the field for over 38 minutes and was constantly in a poor position. So giving up 27 points is not bad.
The performance wasn’t great, but it showed that the defense is continuing to improve and is miles better than the defense from 2016, who would have given up at least 40 points if they were in a similar situation as Sunday night.
Cornerback Sean Smith still looked horrible covering tight end Vernon Davis. Once safety Obi Melifonwu returns from injury, Smith’s snaps will be very much limited as Melifonwu will be able to guard the tight ends and therefore improve the pass defense.
[irp posts=”13304″ name=”Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch embracing true self is what Oakland wants and needs”]
It was just an off night for Derek Carr
The game did confirm one thing that we should have already known, Oakland can’t win if quarterback Derek Carr has an off night.
Fortunately, Carr’s off nights come few and far between.
Also, bad nights happen to everyone. Even the unbeatable New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady stunk it up in front of a national stage on opening night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Carr still needs to improve on the national stage as the terrible performance against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football from 2016 might be fresh in everyone’s mind. But until Carr and Co. put up another stinker, there is no reason to worry.
Remember, one time is an outlier. If it continues and becomes a trend, like a loss on Sunday to the Broncos, then it is time to get out the panic button. Maybe not press it, but at least have it around.
With the Oakland Raiders’ 2017 preseason wrapping up, it is time to start looking forward to the 2017 NFL regular season.
As such, here are The JR Report’s win-loss projections for the 2017 Raiders.
[irp posts=”12984″ name=”3 takeaways after Raiders’ preseason loss to Cowboys”]
Week 1: at Tennessee Titans
Starting the regular season off on the road against an up and coming team in the Tennessee Titans would be tough for any team to overcome.
Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and even quarterback Marcus Mariota could cause many issues on the Oakland defense. With so many weapons on the Tennessee offense, the Raiders’ poor defensive communication could be exposed.
With that being said, the Oakland defense will get gashed often, but the Raiders have an MVP caliber quarterback on the other side who will lead Oakland to a nail-biter victory in Week 1 carrying over the common theme from 2016.
Until the defense learns to communicate and gets defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu up to speed, they will look a lot like the 2016 Raiders, just with fewer victories.
Raiders 34 Titans 30
Week 2: vs. New York Jets
This game will be the first home opener in Oakland since the organization announced their move to Las Vegas.
A blow out victory against the New York Jets should do well in pleasing the fans and keeping the Oakland Coliseum hospitable with the relocation on everyone’s mind.
Raiders 27 Jets 10
Week 3: at Washington Redskins (SNF)
The Raiders are a better team than the Washington Redskins and, despite what the salaries might say in the future, Carr has a major advantage over quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Nonetheless, it is still early in the season and the Oakland defense will be vulnerable. Cousins will have a monster game and Carr’s late magic will not be enough to carry his team on the road against a possible playoff team on Sunday Night Football.
Redskins 27 Raiders 24
Week 4: at Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos just do not have the star-power at quarterback to compete with a talent like Carr.
The Raiders, like last year’s home win, will use running back Marshawn Lynch to run over the defense and open the play action passing game for Carr to complete a few game-changing strikes.
The Broncos might not admit it, but they are about to enter a rebuilding phase as they need to find their quarterback of the future. Also, placing safety TJ Ward on the trading block does suggest a possible rebuilding period.
Per source, Broncos are actually making — not receiving — calls about a trade of S T.J. Ward.
[irp posts=”12781″ name=”What to do with Raiders CB Sean Smith”]
Week 5: vs. Baltimore Ravens
Oakland has defeated the Baltimore Ravens two seasons in a row. Moreover, quarterback Joe Flacco might not even be ready or healthy for this game in Oakland.
As a result, the outcome will be no different from the last two meetings.
Raiders 20 Ravens 13
Week 6: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Quarterback Philip Rivers is going to have a field day against the porous Raiders secondary. The Los Angeles Chargers are a much-improved team, maybe the most in the NFL, and will sneak up on Oakland a few days before they have to play the Kansas City Chiefs on national television.
Chargers 31 Raiders 27
Week 7: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (TNF)
A game under the lights at home will help Carr turn around his poor history against the Chiefs (lost five straight games to KC) since there is no team Carr and company will want to beat more than Kansas City.
The game also becomes a must-win after the previous week’s loss to the Chargers.
Lynch has a beast quake type game as the Coliseum erupts on Thursday Night Football during the team’s first victory over the Chiefs since Carr’s first NFL win.
Raiders 27 Chiefs 20
Week 8: at Buffalo Bills
As long as Tyrod Taylor is the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, they won’t stand any chance against Carr and the Raiders.
Oakland would need a major off-day to lose to Buffalo, especially as the Bills subtly begin their rebuild, which they should until Tom Brady exits the division.
It was initially reported that Brown was looking for at least $6 million per year, but despite his second-best tackle total in the NFL in 2016, the market wasn’t there for the inside linebacker.
For Washington owner Dan Snyder (who has very deep pockets), to only have to pony up $4.65 million to secure Brown is surprising as well as telling of how Oakland gauged his value.
The Raiders featured inside linebackers Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. in 2016. However, the team let Smith walk uncontested due to his inflated stats and appear not sold on bringing Riley back for unknown reasons at this point.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie will now likely turn his attention the draft at the end of April in order to fill this significant void in Oakland’s No. 26 ranked defense.