The Oakland Raiders pulled off a much-needed victory at the Coliseum this week. Squaring off against a depleted New York Giants team, the Raiders win set up a three-way tie for first in the AFC West. With just four weeks remaining in the regular season, Oakland looks to be in control of their own destiny. However, if Sunday’s game is any indication of what can be expected from the Raiders going forward, it may not end well.
Here are a few points that should be taken away from the Raiders win over the Giants.
Derek Carr Continues To Make Bad Decisions
Derek Carr finished Sunday’s contest going 22 of 36 for 287 yards and one touchdown. Not a bad stat line, but one that could have been better given the injury-depleted secondary of the Giants.
There were numerous times throughout the game that Carr seemed to force the ball to his receivers. On some occasions, there wasn’t a Raider pass catcher in the area.
The blame doesn’t rest completely on Carr. Hhis weapons consisted of back-ups and gadget players due to the loss of his two top receivers.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were absent from Sunday’s game because of injury and suspension, respectively. Their absence forced the Raiders offense to lean on the running game and find new ways of getting the ball to playmakers like Cordarrelle Patterson and Seth Roberts.
The lack of starting wide receivers aside, Carr needs to make better choices in the passing game. The Raiders will need a strong passing attack if they are to stay in the hunt for the AFC West title.
Oakland’s playoff hopes will hinge on Carr’s ability to make the right reads in the passing attack.
Running The Ball Works
Over the last two games, the Raiders have featured Marshawn Lynch and a power run package that has been absent from past game plans.
Their new commitment to run has rewarded them with two straight victories, and a new dimension to their offense.
Lynch has carried the ball 46 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He has seen a spike in carries and the Raiders have seen an obvious increase in offensive production. This isn’t a coincidence.
If the Raiders are going to make a run deep into the playoffs they will need a good defense and a strong run game to control time of possession. With the way they have been deploying the run over the past few weeks, it looks as if they got the memo.
The Defensive Secondary Will Be Their Downfall
Once again the Raiders secondary was exposed for what it is, sub-par. Even against Geno Smith, this defensive backfield looked overmatched. Had this been Eli Manning playing, the game could have easily gone the other way.
The defensive backs look to be well-rounded and capable of stopping the pass, but the eye test says otherwise.
This unit consistently looks like it gives receivers space on purpose as if to bait quarterbacks into throwing the ball. Receivers are open on just about every snap and if a defender is in the vicinity they fail to make a play.
It’s a group that must get better if the Raiders plan to make the playoffs. And if they do make the postseason, they will find it hard to advance if they can’t stop the pass.
The Raiders have the tools to be the team everyone thought they would be. Yet for some reason, they leave much to be desired.
The next few weeks will let the league, and Raider Nation, know if Oakland is a real contender. And maybe, just maybe, the Raiders will bring some post-season excitement to the East Bay once again.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Week 13 Oakland Raiders Takeaways