HENDERSON, Nev. (AP)Coming off a win over the Green Bay Packers to end a three-game skid, the Las Vegas Raiders now have a chance to make up ground in the standings if they take advantage of their schedule.
They host the New England Patriots on Sunday before going on the road to face the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Then the Raiders return home to play both New York teams.
They are favored to beat the Patriots and Bears, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, and likely will be a decisive underdog at Detroit. Las Vegas could be favored against the Giants and Jets. The Lions are 4-1, but the other four teams are a combined 5-15.
That stretch will determine a lot for Las Vegas, which is 2-3 after beating the Green Bay Packers 17-13 on Monday night. Defeating the Packers gave much-needed life to the Raiders, ending their three-game losing streak.
“I think it’s given us that confidence boost and trust in each and every teammate,” cornerback Amik Robertson said.
Las Vegas likely will need to go at least 4-1 over the next five weeks to have any real chance at the playoffs. But going 1-4 probably would be positive in the sense it would help ensure a high pick for next year’s quarterback-rich draft class.
Anything in the middle is the worst outcome. It would mean the Raiders probably have no opportunity at the playoffs nor at getting their quarterback of the future, barring a trade, of course.
DE Maxx Crosby. Robert Spillane intercepted two passes against Green Bay and Robertson picked off one in the end zone in the final minute to ensure victory. But it was Crosby’s relentless pressure on quarterback Jordan Love that forced a lot of early throws. Crosby had one sack and four tackles for loss. Green Bay had no answer for him.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The offense. Las Vegas has yet to score 20 points in a game, so it’s remarkable the Raiders actually have two victories. It’s not a recipe for success in the modern NFL, though, and unless the Raiders get that side of the ball figured out, there won’t be many more wins coming their way.
“We’ve got to do a lot of things a little bit better,” coach Josh McDaniels said. “There’s no one answer. … We’ve had just enough plays here and there to stop us from really getting into a consistent rhythm. The good is the fight and the effort is there and also we haven’t played our best.”
WR Jakobi Meyers. Whenever opponents double team or bracket Davante Adams, which is every week, the Raiders need Meyers to step up. He’s done just that and came through again Monday. He caught seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in which he beat Packers safety Rudy Ford to the spot to score.
K Daniel Carlson. He has been such a model of consistency that it’s stunning when he’s not at the top of his game. True, Carlson’s two misses were hardly chip shots, but he was 24 of 29 on field goals from beyond 50 yards before this game. He had a 53-yard field goal partially blocked and a 52-yarder hit the right upright.
McDaniels said there was no update on CBs Nate Hobbs (ankle) and Jakorian Bennett (hamstring), but that they were moving in the right direction.
2.9 – RB Josh Jacobs’ rushing average. This after he averaged 4.9 yards last season and led the NFL in total rushing yardage. It’s not all his fault his numbers have plummeted. Opposing defenses have focused their attention on him, and the Raiders offensive line has done a poor job of creating running lanes. Jacobs showed signs of his old self against Green Bay, rushing 11 times for 45 yards in the second half.
A familiar foe visits Sunday when the Patriots come to Las Vegas. McDaniels was the long-time offensive coordinator there, and much of the Raiders roster is made up of former New England players. And who can forget last year’s wacky ending? The player at the center of that lateral that resulted in the winning touchdown for Las Vegas is Meyers, who joined the Raiders in the offseason.
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