The Las Vegas Raiders have moved their way up this season, sitting at 6-3 and second within their division. They even have the accomplishment of handing the Kansas City Chiefs their only loss of the season, then nearly doing it again.
Raiders’ Defense Has Stepped Up
Even with several players being placed on COVID-19/Reserve, including defensive linebacker and key player Cory Littleton last week, the defense has been playing well enough to keep Las Vegas in the playoff conversation. They have been exceptional at stopping the run, with the 12th-fewest allowed rushing yards in the league. The Raiders defense has also been highly successful at rushing the passer.
They will be facing the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, who currently have Todd Gurley out and Julio Jones listed as questionable. This should give the Raiders defense an advantage having Littleton back on the field with less options for Matt Ryan. The Falcons are also coming off a week where Ryan was sacked eight times, so expect the Raiders to bring the heat early and often to test that front.
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Raiders Have a Playoff-Level Offense
The Raiders offense has also been notable, scoring 40 points against the Chiefs during Week 5. Quarterback Derek Carr has had the highest passer rating of his career. Additionally, the Raiders offense includes running back Josh Jacobs, who’s in fourth place for rushing yards and tied for fourth place for most touchdowns.
This week, Jacobs was dealing with a hip injury, but according to coach Jon Gruden, he will be active against the Falcons.
The Raiders have been impressive, exceeding the expectations that most had for them. They seem to be climbing their way up in the rankings. Looking at their remaining schedule, they could very likely be in playoff picture. Following their matchup with the Falcons this week, they play the Jets, Colts, Chargers, Dolphins and Broncos.
Considering that they are the only current team that has proven they can beat the defending Super Bowl champions, I see them making playoffs this year.