The story of the Las Vegas Raiders this season has been a strange and varied one both on and off the field. After the departure of Jon Gruden and the Henry Ruggs incident, Rich Bisaccia has turned around a team that started 5-2 before slipping to 6-7 into one that has won it’s last four games to make it into the playoffs.
So what makes us think they can win it all?
They’ve shown they can beat good teams
The Raiders have 3 wins over playoff teams this year, beating the Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys in the regular season whilst also defeating contenders such as the Ravens, Dolphins, Colts and Chargers. They also have 4 overtime wins in their pocket, so we know when the going gets tough the Raiders really do get going.
They’ve got multiple playmakers
This isn’t a roster you’re going to look at and go “Oh look, they’ve got Matt Stafford and Aaron Donald, of course they’re going to win” but what they do have is multiple players stepping up and making plays. Derek Carr has one of the highest completion percentages in the league and has a great connection with Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller (who will hopefully be back for the game against the Bengals) in particular and that, along with Josh Jacobs running the ball, is helping them move the ball consistently on offense.
On defense while they don’t aren’t near the top of the league in either sacks or interceptions, teams are fearful of what Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Williams can do and their cornerbacks have a penchant for breaking up passes and give up one of the fewest yards per passing attempt as a result.
They know how to overcome adversity
Every team is going to face some sort of adversity as they go through their playoff run. It might be an in-game injury, a late covid case, or simply being behind in a game. The teams that go on and win Super Bowls are the ones that know how to deal with that and after all the Raiders have been through this season with the Jon Gruden and Henry Ruggs issues, and being 6-7 at the start of December, these Raiders now know how to deal with those situations and that will stand them in good stead in their playoff run.
With all that said, I’m sure the message to the Las Vegas Raiders players will be pretty simple when they’re preparing to take the field – “Just win, baby!”
Written By Craig Strachan