On Sunday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders will finish their brutal October schedule by taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Allegiant Stadium. There are several important matchups to consider when trying to determine a winner, but Derek Carr will likely hold the keys to victory. The franchise quarterback, who is coming off his first career win at Arrowhead Stadium, will need to bring that same focus and aggressiveness he had against the Kansas City Chiefs if the Raiders want any shot at victory.
Derek Carr, Offense Hold the Keys To Victory for Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7
Aggressiveness Will Be Key
Throughout the course of his career, Derek Carr has gotten a reputation for being too conservative of a player. He was someone whom the fanbase believed unwilling to sling the ball down the field. Many of those frustrations were put to bed two weeks ago, when the Raiders put up 40 points on the Kansas City Chiefs. This was mostly due to a couple of deep-field shots to wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor. Carr will need to approach Sunday’s game with that same aggressiveness to keep pace with the Buccaneers potent offense.
The Bucs have the most lethal one-two punch of wide receivers, in the league, with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Throw in current top five rusher Ronald Jones, and it is no surprise as to why Tom Brady has been flourishing in Florida. An offense like Tampa Bay’s will find a way to score points no matter how well their opponent plays defense. It will be up to Carr to hold onto his newfound aggressiveness, and keep pressure on the opposing offense by constantly pushing the ball down the field.
The Other Key Matchup: Offensive Line vs. Shaquil Barrett
With all of the starting offensive linemen of the Las Vegas Raiders unable to practice this week due to the NFL’s COVID policy, all eyes will be on whomever is able to play this Sunday. It is still unknown at the time of this writing whether Derek Carr will have any of his starting linemen for Sunday’s game. To make matters worse, Shaquil Barrett, last year’s sack leader, seems to have picked up from where he left off last year. He has three sacks on the season, but do not let that low number fool you as he currently ranks fourth in the league in total pressures with 30. No matter how aggressive Carr might want to be, it will be extremely difficult to throw the ball down the field if the offensive line can not contain Barrett. It will be integral to their success, or lack thereof, this Sunday.
What was originally supposed to be a Sunday night game has been moved to Sunday afternoon due to the current COVID concerns with the Las Vegas Raiders. Currently, there are a lot more questions than answers surrounding the game this Sunday. Hopefully, some clarity will be given on the situation within the next 24 hours. As for now, it looks as if the Las Vegas Raiders will be rolling into Sunday afternoon’s game with a patchwork offensive line. The first game coming off of a bye week is one elite coaches rarely ever lose, but a defeat this Sunday would not be any knock against head coach Jon Gruden. Sometimes a team is just dealt a bad hand. The Raiders can still win this Sunday, but it will take nothing short of perfection in all three phases of the game for that dream to come to fruition.