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2018 Regular Season
Preview: Raiders @ Cards

Setting the Stage
The 1 - 8 Raiders are one of the few NFL teams with a worse record than the 2 - 7 Cardinals. Most NFL observers (not to say, Raider fans) find it hard to fathom why Jon Gruden and his people chose to blow up the Raider roster presumabl to set the stage for a major rebuilding program.


Raiders' ' Last Game
They lost to the Chargers 20 - 6

(Note - NFLHas made it well-nigh impossible to post its play by play logs - so the following is more of a "guerrilla" recap of highlights by quarter.

First Quarter
Raiders drew first blood with a 46-yd Carlson FG - Raiders 3 - Chargers 0.

First Quarter Score: Raiders 3 - Chargers 0.


Second Quarter
Chargers tied the score with a 27-yd Badgely FG. Raiders 3 - Chargers 3.

Chargers took the lead when Rivers hit K Allen with an 11-yd TD pass. Chargers 10 - Raiders 3.

Second Quarter Score: Chargers 10 - Raiders 3.


Third Quarter
Chargers widened their lead when Rivers hooked up with M Gordon for a 66-yd TD. Chargers 17 - Raiders 3.

Third Quarter Score: Chargers 17 - Raiders 3.

Fourth Quarter
The two teams exchanged FG's. Carlson hit one from 30. Chargers 17 - Raiders 6

Badgley clicked from 41. Chargers 20 - Raiders 6.

Final Score: Chargers 20 - Raiders 6.


Raider vs Charger Game Stats -

Total Net Yards: Raiders 317

Total Penalties: Raiders 6 for 55

Time of Poss. Raiders 31:10

Passing - Carr 24/37 243 yds 0 TD's, 0 Ints.

Rushing - D Martin - 15 for 61 0 TD's

Receiving - Richard 5 for 52. Cook 4 for 52. LaFell 4 for 47 (Three others with 3 catches)


Season Player Stats

Passing \
(Carr)
- 228/319 2441 yds, 7.65 YPA, 10 TD's, 8 Ints, Sacked: 28, Rating: 95.53

Rushing
(Lynch)
- 90 for 376, 4.18 YPC, 3 TD's.
(Martin) 66 for 281, 4.26 YPC, 0 TDs

Receiving
(Richard)
48 for 400 yds, 8.33 YPC
(Cook)
42 for 546 yrd, 13.0 YPR
(J Nelson
25 for 353 yds, 14.12 YPR
(Roberts)
21 for 227 yds 10.81 YPR

Defense
(Whitehead) - 46 Tackles
(Gilchrest) - 26 Tackles
(Lee) - 25 Tackles
(Harris) - 23 Tackles
(Nelson) - 21 Tackles
(Hall )- 21 Tackles

Interceptions
(Five players with one interception apiece)

Sacks
(Hurst leads with 3. Two other players with 1 apiece).

Field Goals
Carlson - 4 for 8 over 30 yds
McCrane - 2 for 6 over 40 yds

Net Punting Yards
Townsend - 39.23


Team Season Stats

TD's - Raiders 171 - Opp 177

Rushing 1st Downs - Raiders 44/Opp 60

3rd Down Conversions: Raiders 40/108 /Opponents 51/111

OffensiveYards - Raiders 3147. /Opp 3592

Off YPP - Raiders 5.6 /Opp 6.7

Rushing YPP Raiders 4.2 /Opp 4.8

Sacks By - Raiders 8 /Opp 29

Time of Poss - Raiders 31:05/Opp 29:49

Raiders in a Nutshell
Doesn't appear to stand out in any aspect of offensive play other than Carr's QB numbers (i.e. completes 71.47% of his passes/only threw 8 interceptions).
Biggest number that catches your eye is 28 sacks allowed.

Leading ballcarrier is Marshawn Lynch, but he's on IR - & he only racked up 376 yds on 90 carries). Lynch and their other ballcarrier (Martin) have been averaging about 4.2 yards per carrier). When Carr does elect to throw the ball, his receivers pick up pretty good yardage - with Cook,, Nelson, Roberts and Bryan each averaging well north of 10 YPC.

Raider pass rushers have only managed 8 sacks. After Whitehead (63), Gilchrist (38) and Lee (45) - tackling numbers fall off a cliff (averaging in the low to mid 20's). Kicking and punt numbers (on both sides of the ball) is relatively unremarkable.


Raider Offense

Quarterbacks
QB ..04 Carr...02 McCarron

Running Backs
RB....28 D Martin...30 Richard...33 D Washingon
FB....41 K Smith

Wide Receivers
WR1....82 J Nelson...10 Roberts...19 LaFell
WR2 ...12 M Bryant....17 D Harris...88 Ateman

Tight Ends
TE......87 Cook...86 L Smith....85 Carrier

Offensive Line
LT......77 Miller...68 Sharpe...75 Parker
LG    ..70 Osemale....76 Feliciano
OC    .61 Hudson
RG.....66 G Jackson...79 Kirkland
RT    ..xx Parker...71 Murray...67 Sillberman

Cardinal Defense

Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa
DT - 98 Peters, 90 Nkemdiche
DT - 95 Gunter, 72 Pierre
DE- 55 C Jones, 59 Zach Moore

Linebackers
SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck, 59 J Walker
MLB - 57 Bynes, 47 Zeke Turner
WILL - 20 Bucannon, 51 Hodges

Defensive Backs
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams
RCB - 23 Benwikere, 28 J Taylor
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston
, 40 Tillman*


Matchup: Raider Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Carr has a gaudy completion average (24 for 37 vs. the Chargers/ 228/319 for the season) and a pretty good Yards Per Completion average (7.65) but he's also beem sacked 28 times. Richard, Cook, Jordy Nelson and Roberts are capable receivers but none drive fear into the hearts of opposing pass defenders. Interesting to note that their # receiver (Cook) is a TE.

The picture these numbers project is one of a QB under pressure who gets rid of the ball quickly and dumps off on short patterns a lot.

Matchup of pass rushers (C Jones, Nkemdiche and Golden) against what looks to be a tissue-paper Raider defense must have Cardinal pass defenders licking their chops.

Lacking a dominant receiving threat suggests that Holcombe may move Peterson around and disguise coverages instead of glueing him to one receiver. A more interesting matchup figures to be a Cardinal LB paired up with the Raider TE (Cook). - this would logically be Buccannon. Matchups offer the Cards a unique opportunity to test a number of unorthodox defensive/blitzing schemes (i.e. could be a break-out blitz-game for Budda Baker

Key Matchuups - Peterson and Benwikere vs. Richard, J Nelson...Bucannon vs Cook..Golden, C Jones and Nkemdiche vs Raider OL


Matchup: Raider Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
With Marshawn Lynch on IR, none of the Raider RB's are especially scary. One clue: Rushing 1st Downs - Raiders have 44 (vs. 60 for their opponents). This suggests that - at crunch time, the Raiders are more likely to pass than run.

Cardinal run defense is spotty, giving up too many yards after initial contact.

Key Matchup: Martin and Richard vs. Bynes. Raider OL vs. Peters, Gunter


Cardinal Offense

Quarterbacks
03 Rosen, 07 Glennon

Running Back
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 13 Kirk, 16 Sherfield
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson, 12 K Wright

Tight Ends
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 84 Gresham, 82 J Phillips

Offensive Line
LT- 74 Humphries, 79 Cunningham
LG - 76 Iupati, 68 Vujnovich,
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
RG- 70 Aboushi, 78 Gossett
RT - 71 A Smith, 75 Golditch


Raider Defense

Defensive Line
DE.....98 Rucker...95 F Brown...96 Ealy
DT.....73 Hurst...92 Hall
DT.....90 Hankins...97 McDonald
DE....99 Key...91 Calhoun...93 J Smith

Linebackers
SLB......54 Lamur...58 Wilber
MLB.....55 Lee...53 Cabinda
WLB....59Whitehead...50 Morrow

Defensive Backs
CB....20 Worley...29 L Hall...22 Melvin
CB...21 Conley...23 N Nelson
S .....31 Gilchrist....42Joseph
S......27 R Nelson....25 E Harris


Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Raider Pass Defense
Josh Rosen improves from game to game but is still prone to making rookie mistakes and turning over the football at critical points in a game (Last Sunday, the Cards were on the verge of pulling even with the Chiefs late in the game and taking over the lead only to have Josh throw a killer interception that took all the air out of the Cardinal comeback)..

The case could be made that the key creator of turnovers and hurried throws is an injury--plagued Cardinal offensive line - especially maimed on the right side where Aboushi (who?) is now our starting RG. You'd normally expect Byron Leftwich to continue the shift in emphasis to favor short passes and handoffs to D Johnson; however the paltry Raider 8-sack total has to make throwing the ball a bigger temptation

Key Matchups:
Cardinal OL vs. Raider Pass Rush. A Smith vs. Lamur. Fitzgerald and Kirk vs, Worley and Conley. D Johnson vs. R Nelso.n

Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Raider Run Defense
Cards have spent the past few weeks working on the running game (& pass plays which actually are extended running plays). Look for Byron Leftwich to continue handing off the ball to D Johnson, dial up more screens and involve Kirk and JJ Nelson in the Jet Sweep game.

Key Matchups:
Cardinal OL vs KC Front 7...D Johnson vs. Lee


Special Teams

Raider Special Teams

K       08 Carlson     
P       05 Townsend        
H       05 Townsend
LS     47 Sieg
KR    17 D Harris
PR    17 D Harrris

Cardinals Special Teams
P - ...02 Lee
K- ....04 Dawson
H - ...02 Lee
LS - .46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan, 14 Nelson
PR - 13 Kirk, 22 Logan


Matchup: Raider Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Raiders have been shuffling the deck at kicker. We like the Lee-Dawson kick-punt tandem better than we do Carlson - Townsend

Kirk is beginning to emerge as a returning threat, but Cards have decided to re-activate their rookie scatback, Logan - what the roles of each return guy will turn out to be has yet to be determined. Dwayne Harris is the KR and PR specialist for the Raiders. Cards haven't broken very much long, but both Kirk and Logan seem "right on the verge")


Coaching / Intangibles
Jon Gruden's coaching reputation has received a bigger boost from his exposure as a TV analyst than necessarily his experience as a head coach. Not that the experiment won't work (We like Jon. If there's anyone who can make the Tv-to-Sideline conversion, it/'s Gruden. We just aren't sure that
he's the guy. Our biggest misgiving - the decision to blow up the roster (including the trade of star defender Kahlil Mack).

Cardinals are in the first year of the Wilks era, with its first casually, offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy and the elevation of QB coach Byron Leftwich to OC. So far the transition looks to be a productive one, but it's still kind of early to tell. Cards are playing better than a 2-win football team yet (as Bill Parcells is fond of saying): "You are what your record says you are." We'll see.


How to Beat the Raiders
When you're 2 & 7, games like this walk, talk and quack: "Trap Game."
Normally, the prescription for a game like this would be: "Avoid mistakes, don't turn the ball over, just do what you do." Problem is: some teams will wrongly interpret this to mean: "This game's a laugher - we can afford to take our foot off the pedal. Our suggestion: Play balls out from opening to closing whistles and let the chips fall.

 
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