To say the Las Vegas Raiders have had a horrible start to the 2022 season would be an understatement. They made a big splash in the offseason by getting Derek Carr a very good weapon in Davonte Adams, but it has been anything but good for the Raiders under the Josh McDaniels era. The team seems to be without an offensive identity, their offensive line issues are hurting them badly, and their defense really only has two notable people in Nate Hobbs and Maxx Crosby.
In the most recent match-up in 2021, the Raiders barely snuck by the Denver Broncos, winning 17-13. The rush game was a tale between two different teams - Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon struggled badly as they combined for 14 rushes for 8 yards, with the only positive rusher being Javonte. On the Raiders’ side of the ball, Josh Jacobs feasted on the Broncos, rushing for 129 yards on 27 carries. The Broncos offense really couldn’t get anything moving with Drew Lock.
Looking back on the 2021 Raiders
The Raiders had many off-the-field issues during the season, but focusing on the field, the Raiders were pretty surprising. They went 10-7 on the year, beat the Chargers in Week 17 to gain a playoff spot where they met the Cincinnati Bengals. Late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders were driving and Carr threw a costly interception, sealing the Bengals' win in the game.
In overtime, the Raiders did accomplish a very hard task by winning four games. The last time a team won four overtime games was in 2011.
List of all the Raiders’ off-season moves
Key additions: WR Davante Adams, DE Chandler Jones, CB Rock Ya-Sin, DT Bilal Nichols
Key Losses: DE Yannick Ngakoue, WR Bryan Edwards, CB Casey Hayward, OG Richie Incognito, WR Zay Jones
2022 Draft: Round three: (90) OG Dylan Parham, Round four (122) RB Zamir White, (126) DT Neil Farrell, Round 5 (175) DT Matthew Butler, Round seven (238) OT Thayer Munford Jr. (250) RB Brittian Brown
Note: Round one and two picks were sent to the Packers in the Adams trade and the sixth-round pick was voided because of violating 2020 COVID restrictions.
The 2022 season so far
The Raiders' offense seems to be missing an identity. In the first game, they wanted Adams to be the guy to receive most of the targets, but as the leading receiver is Mack Hollins, they seem to be changing it up. Adams has gotten off to a slow start with only 17 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns. McDaniels has been proving to many people (what Broncos fans already knew) that he was a horrible hire.
The Raiders are currently 0-3, which is currently the worst in the NFL. They did hold a players-only meeting after the Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, which could be a sign that trouble is already brewing in Las Vegas.
The Raiders have gotten every touchdown so far this year by passing; they have yet to score a rushing touchdown.
Reason for concern on the Raiders
There are a lot of reasons for concern about the Raiders so far, making it very hard to pick just one. Their defense has only managed two sacks and two turnovers so far on the year, and they allow 25.7 points per game - the eighth worst in the league. The Raiders’ defense really has only two bright spots in Nate Hobbs and Maxx Crosby.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders have turned the ball over five times, with four of them being interceptions. They also have the fifth-worst rushing attack in the league.
Tanner’s three keys to winning
- Let Ejiro Evero do his thing
The Broncos coaching staff has found a gem in Evero the defense on paper was supposed to be on a “down year” but so far the defense has had anything but a down year. The Broncos have allowed the second fewest total points, third fewest total yards, and they are ninth in the league in sacks. Looking at the pass defense, the Broncos allowed the third fewest total yards, eighth fewest completions, and they are fourth in yards per attempt allowed. This defense is on the verge of being the next best defense since the “No Fly Zone” led 2015 defense.
2. Have Patrick Surtain II guard Adams
Surtain really needs no introduction as he has been super special this year. In three games he has allowed eight catches on 14 targets for 40 yards. Most of the yards and catches allowed came in the first game to DK Metcalf but most of the routes Metcalf ran were underneath routes getting an easy catch. Most recently in the 49ers game, Surtain locked up Aiuyk all game, allowing 0 catches on five targets plus two pass breakups. If Surtain is on Adams for most of the game, I think he can slow down Adams and force the Raiders to run the ball - something they are not comfortable doing so far.
3. Give Carr no time in the pocket
Carr loves to drop back in the passing game, which is where most of the offense will be. Carr has already been sacked eight times, and the Broncos have nine, so there’s a golden opportunity here. The Raiders' offensive line is not the greatest. If the Broncos are going to win, Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb will have to hit Carr and get in the backfield.
The Raiders' start to the year has been horrid with so many struggles so soon. The offense for the Broncos has been pretty underperforming, but hopefully, they will be able to figure out what’s going on this week. The defense really needs no help as they have been nothing short of dominating through three games. I think it will be another low-scoring game by both teams. Yet again, the defense for the Broncos steps up big time and will be a huge reason why this team wins in Las Vegas.
Broncos 17, Raiders 10.