As unlikely as it seemed just a couple of weeks ago, the Las Vegas Raiders have won two in a row and are still in the thick of the playoff race. Over recent years, the team’s offense has had to do most of the heavy lifting as the defense has been bad. However, the defense has really carried the team over the last two wins.
Against the Denver Broncos, quarterback Derek Carr made some nice plays but also had two turnovers. Even though he didn’t have the best game, the Raiders were terrified when he got banged up during the game.
Marcus Mariota was on the COVID-19/Reserve list and Nathan Peterman hasn’t been active in weeks. Luckily, Carr didn’t have to miss any snaps but that doesn’t mean he’s 100%. After the game, the quarterback got honest about his injury status.
“My body,” Carr said. “I never lie to you, I just don’t feel good.”
With only two games left in the regular season, Carr is highly unlikely to take any time off. It is concerning that he doesn’t feel good but not many players feel good this late in the season. He was still able to help engineer a win despite being hurt and can do it a couple more times to end the season.
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Raiders Pleased With Hometown Crowd
The last two Raiders win certainly haven’t been pretty. The offense hasn’t scored more than 17 points in any of the last four games. Another issue for the team has been that they aren’t very good at home.
A reason that’s been an issue is that Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium have been a destination for opposing fans to come watch their teams play the Raiders. Luckily, the team finally felt their home-field advantage against the Broncos.
“This was the most home-field advantage feeling I’ve felt all season, and it was really cool,” Carr said. “The way they were loud on defense. We would hit a big play and go into the red zone, and it was quiet. Thank you, you know that stuff matters.
“It’s an advantage for us.”
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia credited his players for getting the crowd back into the game despite an ugly first half.
“It was exciting in the second half, when we started to run the ball like that, they started to come back to life,” Bisaccia said after the game. “It was electric, we felt on the sideline. Maxx [Crosby] and Yannick [Ngakoue] were working the crowd, and it was exciting for us to get (the crowd) back in the game.
“Raider Nation was really loud at the end.”
Win out & Go to the Playoffs
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how sloppy the Raiders’ wins are as long as they’re winning. They’ve already matched last year’s win total and have two games left to improve upon it. With the recent winning streak, the Raiders have gotten to a point where they control their own destiny.
If they win their last two games against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers, they go to the playoffs for the first since 2016.
The Raiders have faltered in these spots before but this team has an edge to them. They aren’t a great team but are finding ways to win. While the playoffs still feel like a long shot, this team can’t be ruled out yet.