Keeping up with the Oakland Raiders

Ikaika Nichols,

The 2017-18 NFL season is underway, and top-ranked teams such as the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders were predicted to emerge as title contenders.

The Raiders started off with a 2-0 record but due to a series of poor performances in recent competition they have lost the past four games. The Oakland Raiders franchise will soon relocate to Las Vegas which has brought criticism and backlash from the loyal Bay Area fan base. The Oakland Raiders are currently 2-4-0 as they prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs game which is scheduled for Oct. 19 after an upsetting loss in last Sunday’s Oct. 15 game to the San Diego Chargers which ended 17-16.

The organization is set to come out successful in the next game against the Chiefs back home at the Oakland Coliseum but with recent injuries this will be a tough game against a strong side. In weeks prior, the Raiders took a 16-10 loss at Sports Authority Field to division rivals the Denver Broncos on Oct. 1. Unfortunately, Quarterback Derek Carr left the game against Denver with just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter with what was expected to be just a back spasm injury but has now been re-evaluated as a transverse process fracture in his back. Carr is expected to miss up to 6 weeks which is a huge loss for the team.

A healthy starting Carr gave the franchise and fans optimistic views about their chances but now with the loss of their starting quarterback, the season has taken a devastating, swift turn. On top of this loss, there has been low offensive output from key players including star Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and veteran Running Back Marshawn Lynch. These players will become even more valuable in games to come.

The Raiders are currently tied for 3rd place in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs at the top of the table with a 5-1 record, the Denver Broncos at 2nd with a 3-2 record, and the Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders at the bottom of the table with 2-4 record.  Moving forward the Raiders are expected to get good results but will lack a key component without Carr starting at Quarterback.

Key members on the injury reserve list and inconsistent play from others players mean the Raiders will need to rely on the personnel they do have and put a lot of faith in second string EJ Manuel. Manuel will be looking to bolster back with an impactful showing of their offense against a strong opponent in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders are confident in the offensive options that are available and feel Manuel can still make an impact on the team moving forward. Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke on Manuel’s performance against the Ravens in an official Raiders postgame interview with select NFL media.

Well, we didn’t win, so it wasn’t well enough to win. But I thought he did a pretty solid job as a backup guy coming into a tough situation and handled himself well. Made a couple of third downs. Kept the drive, couple of key third downs and took them down to their lake to get within a score. We’ve got to do more defensively to get him more opportunities.”

A strong comeback after recent defeats will help keep the Raiders on track and propel them higher in the AFC standings towards playoff contention. If the Black and Silver can make something positive out of this season in playoffs all other topics and discussions surrounding the team such as the pending move to Las Vegas can be left aside for later discussion.Another win will move the Raiders record up to 3-4 and will place them in 3rd  place behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. A good spot to be in with the middle of the season soon approaching.