The Las Vegas Raiders enter Week 6 (their bye week) with a record of 1-4. Here is why you should not count them out of the playoff hunt just yet.
The Las Vegas Raiders are not off to a hot start, which is a kind way of putting it. The Raiders are 1-4 falling to the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, and most recently the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders’ sole win was against another underperforming AFC West team, the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders loss to the Kansas Chiefs was definitely gut-wrenching for all fans of the Silver and Black but the Raiders are not getting blown out in any of these games. For all of the hype and glamour surrounding Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and crew, they beat the Raiders by a single point, on their home field. The Chiefs also felt the sting of five penalties while the Raiders were dealt with 11 and still scored 29 points on the Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
In all four of the Raiders’ losses, they have not lost by more than 6 points and two losses were decided by two points or less. There are many reasons why the Raiders cannot be counted out but the main one is the overall potential of the unit.
The Las Vegas Raiders still have playoff potential
The Raiders’ defense is in the middle of the pack statistically but they were able to shut out the Chiefs for almost a full half, a similar output to the Cardinals, and they have stars on both sides of the ball that have the ability to take over the game. Edge rusher Maxx Crosby leads the league in sacks, receiver Davante Adams is tied for second with five touchdowns, and running back Josh Jacobs is third in rushing yards. The potential is astronomical.
The Chiefs game was a good example of the Raiders finally playing complementary football. The defense was creating substantial pressure on Mahomes and the offense was moving the ball down the field steadily and scoring points. The offense appeared to be without rhythm or a real identity in the first three games of the season.
The Raiders finally started establishing a smash mouth run game with Josh Jacobs and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was beginning to show off his ability to adjust and ultimately unleash some of his more efficient defensive players.
Quarterback Derek Carr and Davante Adams even had a few moments like this that helped the Raiders jump to a 17-0 lead.
While that all sounds exciting obviously the Raiders are 1-4 for a reason. The general synopsis for that is the Raiders are having issues closing games out, maintaining, and pushing the ball downfield consistently. The defense also always seems to play with more energy and precision in the first half than in the second. The easy response is that the Raiders are having trouble playing a full complete 60-minute game with equal effort and productivity.