October 28, 2017 - 4:41 pm
The Raiders play at the Buffalo Bills at 10 a.m Sunday. Here’s a breakdown by position:
Derek Carr’s first signature moment of 2017 finally came in Week 7 against the Chiefs. Even when the Raiders started out 2-0, Carr didn’t have that special moment as he did so many times in 2016. He threw for 417 yards and found Michael Crabtree for the game-tying touchdown versus the Chiefs. Carr will need to continue to play at that level to bring the Raiders back into contention. Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have the weapons that Carr has, but he’s making it work in Buffalo.
Marshawn Lynch won’t get to play against his former team in Buffalo because of his one-game suspension. But that might not hurt the Raiders on the field with the two-man committee of Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Lynch has broken off tackles, but he hasn’t gotten big gains. Richard and Washington could provide that Sunday. Bills star running back LeSean McCoy broke out of his funk last week with a 91-yard, two-touchdown performance. A hot McCoy could be a bad thing for Oakland.
Amari Cooper finally showed up in Week 7 with 210 receiving yards versus the Chiefs. If Cooper gets back to his old ways, he and Crabtree can dominate opposing secondaries. The Bills lost their most productive receiver in tight end Charles Clay, but Logan Thomas and Nick O’Leary have stepped up. Deonte Thompson, who was signed a few weeks ago, had 107 receiving yards for the Bills last week.
The Raiders’ offensive line gave Carr plenty of time to operate in Week 7 and had his back after the scuffle with the Chiefs’ Marcus Peters. Marshall Newhouse is dealing with a foot injury, but the rest of the line is getting back to top form. Left tackle Cordy Glenn is having a productive season for the Bills.
The Bills are deep at defensive line with Shaq Lawson, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus. Buffalo is third in the league in rushing defense with 84.7 yards allowed per game. Oakland is 21st at 113.9 yards per game. The Raiders’ Khalil Mack continues to command double teams.
Lorenzo Alexander, a former Raider who has bounced around, is having a memorable season under the guidance of Bills coach Sean McDermott. NaVorro Bowman immediately contributed in his Raiders debut with 11 tackles. The Raiders need that type of performance again to slow McCoy.
The Bills’ Tre’Davious White is a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is shadowing top wide receivers and coming up with game-changing plays. Injuries continue to pile up for the Raiders’ defensive backs. David Amerson (foot) and Gareon Conley (shin) are out, and Karl Joseph is doubtful.
Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio shook off a poor outing last week by making the game-winning extra point. Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka made a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in regulation to give the Bills a victory over the Buccaneers last week.
The Raiders traveling to the East Coast for an early game shouldn’t affect them, especially after Carr and Cooper broke out of their funks. Oakland had its best game of the season when it traveled to Nashville and beat the Titans in a 10 a.m. kickoff.
Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Raiders 34-27 — Are the 2016 Raiders back? They finally showed up in 2017 with a 31-30 Week 7 win over the Chiefs to end a four game slide. Carr and Cooper were in 2016 mode and synched up for the first time this season. This is a big test against a Buffalo squad that is 3-0 at home. But the Bills have played much better than they really are.