The Oakland Raiders sit at 1-4 overall, but could just as easily be 3-2. Yep, the same Raiders who are near the bottom of most people’s power rankings could be 3-2 or even better. This is a team that went to Miami and Denver and got hammered, but then hung tough with the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. The same team that lost to the Miami Dolphins so badly, beat up on the Pittsburgh Steelers the next week. So will the real Oakland Raiders please show up in the next 12 weeks.
We have seen the Raiders pass the ball really effectively this season and also some games in which they can’t really get it going. Carson Palmer has completed at least 69 percent of his passes in three of Oakland’s five games, and has completed less than 56 percent in the other two games. He has thrown for more than 300 yards twice and for less than 210 yards twice. So who is the real Carson Palmer? The best guess is the real one is the quarterback who throws the ball accurately, but not for a lot of yards. His best completion percentage came in a game in which he only threw the ball for 209 yards. Ideally, the Raiders get from Palmer what they got in Atlanta, a high percentage for a lot of yards, but that seems unrealistic given the receiving corps.
Moving to the offensive line, this has been another point of inconsistency for Oakland. There are games the line does a great job in pass protection and a terrible job opening up holes for the running game. There have been games in which the line opens the lanes, but can’t protect Palmer. The only time the offensive line put everything together was shockingly against Pittsburgh when Darren McFadden ran for 113 yards and Palmer was only sacked once. However, the line has given up multiple sacks three times this season, which is not very good. Unfortunately, it looks like the real offensive line can’t protect Palmer and keep him upright or open up holes for McFadden, but if they ever getting everything together in a game, chances are the Raiders will win.
The final stop on the inconsistency train is the secondary. Needless to say, we were all shocked at the fact Matt Ryan only threw for 249 yards against this porous secondary. Yet, Phillip Rivers only threw for 231 yards, but he wasn’t intercepted three times like Ryan was. The same secondary which kept two high octane passing offenses in check, gave up 350 yards in back-to-back weeks to two elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. The best part is that Rivers and Ryan have a solid running game to rely on, Roethlisberger and Manning do not, so you would think the Raiders would pay a little bit more attention to the pass defense in those two games. Regardless, the true nature of this secondary seems to be to give up large chunks of yards, but every once in a while this defensive backfield will sneak up and limit a team through the air. Oakland just wishes it could win those games.