Submitted by Wayne Root on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 7:00 AM
The Oakland Raiders enter this Sunday Night’s TV game on the road against the Miami Dolphins with a 3-5 record. It would be 2-6, but the Silver and Black scored in “extra time” to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a recent Thursday night rivalry game.
For a team that was supposed to be a playoff contender…and the team that took the most bets to win the Super Bowl here in Las Vegas because local fans wanted to show support… the 2017 season has been a big disappointment. They were supposed to be 5-3 or 6-2 heading into this game! Not 3-5, lucky not to be 2-6.
What’s gone wrong? I’ve been watching this team very closely because they’ve become such a high priority franchise in this city. They and the San Francisco Forty-Niners were always the “local” teams anyway in terms of the TV networks. But, now that one is moving here…I need to peg this team correctly whenever they take the field.
Here are the problems as I see them.
*The defense is still porous, and it’s just impossible to win in this league consistently if you can’t get stops. That puts too much pressure on the offense to play perfect football. Oakland was lucky to make the playoffs last year with a bad defense. That luck has run out. Management knew this was a problem area but hasn’t come up with any solutions.
*The offense has reverted back to its old “gunslinger” days, which means throwing passes the whole game rather than driving the field effectively. For every completed long pass, there’s a sack or a turnover that kills a drive. Frankly, this style didn’t work all that well in the franchise’s heyday. It’s just that other teams also played that way, and you could get away with the turnovers. Not true any more. Successful offenses run much safer passing attacks to move the chains and avoid giveaways.
*Derek Carr is worrying too much about being a hero, and not enough about sharing the wealth. I’m not saying he’s selfish, necessarily. But, the big contract, and the big move coming up, have him feeling the pressure to be Superman. He’s not good enough yet to complete a high percentage of downfield throws…not good enough yet to avoid turnovers…and not good enough yet to avoid rushers flying at him. Tony Romo got the accolades (and the girls), but he also missed way too many games with injuries. Carr is playing right now with a bad back, after suffering an injury that would fit perfectly in Romo’s medical report.
There’s still time to turn things around. And, drawing Miami right now is a bit of a break because the Dolphins lost Jay Cutler, and don’t have much of an offense no matter who’s playing quarterback. I mean…if THIS team bullies the Raiders’ defense, you can just pencil in 5-11 for the final record right now! Oakland better win this game by at least a TD if they want anyone to take them seriously the rest of the way. That said, Miami will be breathing fire after getting humiliated 40-0 last Thursday night in Baltimore. A Wildcard spot is still within reach for the Dolphins, particularly now that Buffalo lost Thursday, and Houston lost star quarterback Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury.
Last week, Oakland fell at Buffalo 34-14. That looks even worse now since the Bills were badly outplayed by the NY Jets Thursday night. The Raiders lost the turnover category 4-0, and were outrushed 166-54. Now they’re on the East Coast again, knowing that their season is on the line.
I can’t tell you here in a web article whether or not I’m backing the Raiders. You regulars know it’s usually “dog or pass” for me. But, I will lay favorites of this size if I have great information about a peak performance. This is that kind of spot. Oakland is capable of coasting to a cover if they bring the right mindset.
What I can tell you is that this is shaping up as one of my biggest football weekends of the entire season. There are great games all over Saturday’s college card (finally!), and some live dog spots Sunday in the pro’s where mediocre favorites may have some trouble playing to expectations.
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I’m the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the “Walk of Fame” here in Las Vegas. I’m about to welcome the Raiders to MY TOWN. I’m THE KING OF LAS VEGAS until Derek Carr wins a Super Bowl! And, even then, his star would be further down the street than mine on the “Walk of Fame.”
I take sports investing very seriously. That’s how I made my name when I first hit town. That’s why I’m the biggest name in the industry now. Stop struggling on your own. It’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!