The Las Vegas Raiders are riding high after their Week 1 upset over the Baltimore Ravens. It was one of the wilder games you will likely see this season, as the teams battled back and forth all night, with the Raiders taking home a 23-17 victory.
Las Vegas looked like they had won on the opening drive of overtime, but Bryan Edwards was marked down half a yard from the goal line. Disaster ensued, as the Raiders were stuffed on first down, committed a penalty and threw an incomplete pass on second down. Third down, Carr threw a ball that went through Wille Snead IV’s hands, hit a Ravens defender in the face and popped into the air for an interception.
Las Vegas then forced a fumble on Lamar Jackson on the ensuing drive after Mark Andrews had a first-down pass lodged from him. Derek Carr would officially end the game a few plays following the fumble, after some horrible clock management with special teams, with a beautiful deep pass to Zay Jones.
Now, the Raiders head into another difficult matchup in Week 2. They will travel east to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Here are five reasons the silver and black can win that game.
5. Steelers Offensive Line Woes
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of question marks along their offensive line. It was one of the casualties of the cap this offseason and the problems reared their ugly heads in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.
Some more time playing together will help, but the issues Pittsburgh has will take more than a week to fix. They are a young group that will have growing pains, something the Las Vegas Raiders will have to take advantage of.
The offensive line struggling will limit the impact that Ben Roethlisberger and the offense can have attacking what is still a shaky Raiders’ secondary.
4. Multiple Look Running Game
The Las Vegas Raiders will face another stout front seven in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hopefully, Marcus Mariota is available and can help get the running game going.
Mariota had the biggest rushing play of Week 1 for the Raiders, ripping off a 31-yard rush out of a read option. Getting him onto the field a little more could help open up some running lanes for Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake.
Both players struggled against the Ravens, combining for 45 yards on 16 carries. They are a dynamic duo, so getting them going will help lead the Raiders to victory.
3. Derek Carr Is Playing With Confidence
Derek Carr had a wonderful season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. He faced pressure consistently from them, as they gave him multiple zero deep, man looks all night. It was a chess match between Carr and the defense, but he made enough good moves to come out with a win.
He finished the game completing 34-of-56 for 435 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The interception, which occurred in overtime, was not his fault. The ball went through Wille Snead IV’s hands and popped up in the air as a result. He took three sacks and fumbled once, but he remained poised in the pocket.
Las Vegas will need more of that in what will be a hostile environment in Pittsburgh.
2. Rejuvenated Pass Rush
The Las Vegas Raiders set out to improve their defense this offseason. Upgrading the pass rush was imperative, so they signed pass rush extraordinaire, Yannick Ngakoue. Combined with Maxx Crosby, they were excellent in Week 1.
Containing the supremely athletic Lamar Jackson is not an easy feat, but the Raiders did a good job against him. Crosby was constantly getting in his face and making him uncomfortable. He finished with two sacks and four quarterback hits. Ngakoue and Carl Nassib had a quarterback hit each as well.
They should find more opportunities to feast against a Steelers’ offensive line that has some weak points. Ben Roethlisberger is one of the tougher quarterbacks in the league to takedown because of his sheer size and strength. But, if the Raiders can pressure him as they did Jackson, it will be a long day for the Steelers’ offense.
1. The Presence Of Darren Waller
If there was anyone who didn’t know who Darren Waller was coming into the season, they know who he is now. Waller had a big game in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, catching 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The scariest part, his numbers could have been even better.
Derek Carr targeted him 19 times and some of the passes were slightly off target. There are some huge performances ahead of Carr is going to continue locking in on Waller as his go-to target.
While he won’t be targeted 19 times every week, Waller will present some issues for the Steelers’ defense. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will likely be lined up with him for a majority of the game, making for one of the better matchups to keep an eye on across the league in Week 1.