Head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Derek Carr, along with some other Oakland players, all said in their post-game comments what anyone watching this past Sunday’s game thought:
First, Kansas City (3-2) played a pretty darn good game on the road. Second, Oakland (4-2) did about as much wrong as it could possibly do, yet was still in the game going into the fourth quarter. Finally, the Raiders would have to put this AFC West rivalry game behind them and fast-forward to this coming Sunday’s game in Jacksonville against an improving Jaguars team.
So, while it certainly isn’t time for some fans to jump off the Raiders bandwagon, as this game against the Chiefs showed, Oakland is still quite a ways away from becoming a dominant force in the AFC.
Jacksonville Not Doormat It Once Was
Even though Jacksonville is not exactly blowing the roof off of the AFC, the Jaguars are not exactly the doormat they were for the last several seasons. Although head coach Gus Bradley is still on a rather hot seat in terms of job security, the Jags are showing signs of life here and there.
Coming into this weekend’s meeting with the visiting Raiders, Jacksonville (2-3) has a modest two-game winning streak, this after dropping its first three games of the season.
Losers in San Diego in Week 2 by a 38-14 score, Jacksonville will be playing its second game against an AFC West opponent, still having dates at home against Denver on Nov. 6 and at Kansas City on Dec. 8.
As they prepare to host the Raiders, the Jags will again look to lean on young QB Blake Bortles. Although still green in some areas of his game, the University of Central Florida product (third year in the NFL) has thrown for 1,321 yards through five games, with eight TD’s and seven interceptions.
Among the top receivers so far this season for Jacksonville are Allen Robinson (24 receptions, 287 yards, three touchdowns) Marqise Lee (22 catches, 230 yards) and Allen Hurns (20 receptions, 300 yards, one score).
On the ground, Jacksonville turns to T.J. Yeldon (54 carries, 176 yards, one TD) and Bortles (18 carries, 90 yards, one touchdown). As a team, Jacksonville has been outgained by the opposition to the tune of 160 yards through five games.
Over on the defensive side of the ball, Jacksonville looks to linebacker Paul Posluszny (46 total tackles, 35 solo stops) and Telvin Smith (40 total tackles, 35 solo).
Raiders Can’t Take Jags Lightly
As Bradley noted following the team’s come-from-behind 17-16 win in Chicago this past Sunday, the Jags do have the capability to win. That said, can Oakland get back on the winning track and put a little separation between itself and Denver (both 4-2 at the moment)?
With back-to-back trips to Florida over the next two weekends (Oakland plays at Tampa Bay Oct. 30), these are two games the Raiders all but need to have before a meeting at home with Denver.
Despite both being in the AFC, Jacksonville and Oakland have only ever met seven times, with the Jags holding a slight 4-3 advantage.