The Raiders made the quick trip on a short week to face the San Francisco 49ers at 5:20 p.m. for “Thursday Night Football.” Here’s a breakdown by position:
The Raiders already caught a break by not having to face Jimmy Garoppolo. Now they might get the third-string quarterback if C.J. Beathard is unable to play because of an injured wrist. Nick Mullens is in line to make the start and his NFL debut. Derek Carr is coming off arguably his best performance of the season after a four-touchdown day against the Indianapolis Colts last week.
The 49ers are led by the committee of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Breida got off to a good start this season but has been hampered by multiple injuries lately. Raiders’ Doug Martin had a productive outing in his first start last week, rushing for 72 yards on 13 carriers. But his costly fourth-quarter fumble stopped the Raiders’ chances of a comeback.
Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant were viewed as the most likely wide receivers to step up with Amari Cooper now in Dallas. That wasn’t the case last week, with Seth Roberts and Brandon LaFell having solid outings. Raiders tight end Jared Cook continued his big season with 74 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 8. Tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin ignite the Niners’ offense.
The Niners bolster one of the top offensive lines in the NFL with left tackle and 12-year veteran Joe Staley leading the charge. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is having a productive rookie season in San Francisco. The Raiders could get back left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), who has missed the past three games.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan recently called out his defensive line for not applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He might be thankful he’s not coaching the Raiders right now. The Raiders are ranked last in sacks recorded with seven. The 49ers are 25th with 16 sacks.
Fred Warner and Reuben Foster form a dynamic duo at linebacker for the 49ers. The Raiders are still waiting to receive production from their linebacker carousel.
There have been many changes in the Raiders’ secondary in the past two weeks. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie retired this week and Rashaan Melvin went from starter to a healthy inactive. Trade candidates Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley struggled last week. Former All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman returned from injury to assist the Niners’ secondary.
Niners kicker Robbie Gould has made 16 of 17 field goal attempts this season. Daniel Carlson didn’t attempt a field goal in his Raiders debut against the Colts.
The NFL probably thought it was getting a juicy prime-time battle with Garoppolo facing a recharged Raiders team under Jon Gruden. The opposite will occur and the game will come down to who wants it more and that’s probably Carr, who can’t afford anymore losses with a frustrated fan base.