A preview and prediction of the Oakland Raiders playing in their 2017 home finale against the Dallas Cowboys in primetime.
Following another disappointing loss in Week 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders will need a near miracle if they want to make their way into the postseason. If the Raiders want to take first step at attempting that said miracle, it is going to have to start against the Dallas Cowboys.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, the Raiders and Cowboys were seen as sure-fire Super Bowl contenders based off of their 2016 seasons. Fast forward 15 weeks and that could not be further from the truth. Both squads have underperformed greatly this season, with the Raiders at 6-7 and the Cowboys at 7-6.
The Cowboys come into this game without their top offensive weapon in Ezekiel Elliot, which has certainly caused a ripple effect among the entire offense. Das Prescott and co. currently have the 16th ranked offense this season, which has been a major step down from what they were able to achieve the season prior. Prescott was also a player that most were expecting to take the next step in development, but instead it seemed like he plateaued at times this season.
The Raiders have had eerily similar struggles on offense. Derek Carr has seemed to regress in a major way, in which you could put a lion’s share of the blame on Todd Downing and the offensive staff. From Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to the offensive line, regression has happened in nearly every facet of the offense. Downing was asked how he was planning on “letting it rip” on Sunday and he was quoted as saying:
How is Downing going to "let it rip" Sunday? "We’re just going to play with our hair on fire and let it hang out. … Play fast and enjoy ourselves.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) December 15, 2017
The first question that pops into mind was ‘why are you waiting until Week 15 to consider this?’ The amount of ineptitude Downing has displayed this season is far from acceptable considering the talent he inherited. I don’t know about you, but there is no real reason to trust anything Downing says from an offensive gameplan perspective.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams have been pretty terrible all season. Outside of pass rushers like Demarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack, there is not a whole lot of defensive star power to look forward to when watching this game. Both teams are near the bottom half of the league in almost every defensive category you can think of, coupled with god awful secondaries. Expect mediocre performances on defense.
Seeing how both of these offenses have been unpredictable all season, you can either expect a lot of points, or a whole lot of bad offense, I’m honestly not quite sure. Nothing to this point has convinced me the Raiders will win on Sunday night, due to them consistently laying eggs when it mattered the most. I’m predicting a long and dragged out game that will leave Raiders fans calling for Jack Del Rio and Todd Downing’s job once again.
Prediction: Raiders lose 27-20