The Raiders (6-7) host the Jaguars (4-9) at 1:05 p.m. Sunday in the final game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Here is a breakdown by position.
The past few weeks have not been kind to the Raiders’ Derek Carr. After a strong first half of the season, his struggles have raised questions again about whether he is the long-term answer at quarterback. He has a great chance to get back on track against a team that appears to have quit. Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew recently filed three trademark applications — for “Minshew Mania,” “Mississippi Mustache” and “Minshew Magic.”
The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs is questionable to play because of a shoulder injury. His breakout season has him pushing for the offensive rookie of the year award. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard proved serviceable again in his absence last week. Leonard Fournette is having a nice bounce-back season and has emerged as a receiving threat for the Jaguars.
D.J. Chark has emerged as a legitimate threat for the Jaguars on the outside, but he’s unlikely to play because of an ankle injury. Jacksonville still has plenty of talent with Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole. The Raiders continue to look for options beyond Tyrell Williams and tight end Darren Waller. Rookie slot receiver Hunter Renfrow will miss the game because of a rib injury.
The Raiders have the edge but are dealing with injuries. Trent Brown missed last week’s game, and Gabe Jackson has a knee injury. But others have stepped up and played well. Jacksonville is solid in the middle with Brandon Linder at center. He doesn’t have much help, though.
The Jaguars are dominant on the edges, as Yannick Ngakoue continues to establish himself as a star on one side and Calais Campbell remains an elite defensive end on the other. That has helped Taven Bryan and others emerge on the interior and allowed Josh Allen to thrive in spots as a situational pass rusher. The Raiders have been inconsistent across the line.
The Raiders’ linebackers have taken a lot of criticism, particularly for their deficiencies in coverage. All the turnover and attrition at the position hasn’t helped. Jacksonville’s linebackers have been even worse and are a major reason that the run defense has been atrocious.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden was clearly frustrated with the back end of the defense in last week’s loss to Tennessee. He promised changes and delivered. Safety D.J. Swearinger was released. Cornerback Daryl Worley was expected to get work at safety with rookie Isaiah Johnson getting more reps at corner, but Worley might not play. Second-year pro Dallin Leavitt, primarily a special teamer, should see time at safety. Jacksonville has had a tough time replacing Jalen Ramsey after he was traded, particularly with A.J. Bouye taking a step back this season. Nickel corner D.J. Hayden probably has been the unit’s best player.
Oakland’s special teams have gotten worse as the season has progressed. Injuries have impacted the coverage units, and kicker Daniel Carlson has been inconsistent. The Raiders are in the bottom 10 in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The Jaguars are just inside the top 10.
The Raiders should be fueled by the emotion of playing their final game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Jaguars appear ready for the offseason. They have lost five straight games, all by at least 17 points, and are traveling to the opposite coast. It would be stunning if coach Doug Marrone isn’t fired after the season.
Who: Jaguars at Raiders
When: 1:05 p.m. Sunday
Where: Oakland-Alameda Coliseum
TV/Radio: KLAS-8, KYMT-FM (93.1)
Line: Raiders -6½; total 45½