Las Vegas Raiders Keys To Victory: Week 18

January 9, 2022

Today is the day the Raiders make the playoffs. For the first time since 2016, the Raiders control their playoff destiny. In a fitting end to the season, it’s against an AFC West rival, the Chargers. The history these two teams have promises to be a nail-biter and a great end to the NFL regular season. With that being said, let’s get to the Raiders’ keys to victory.

Keep Carr Standing

We all know how dangerous Derek Carr can be when given time in the pocket. So the offensive line has to keep him up. Last week against the Colts, the line did a good job only letting him get sacked twice. But the Colts don’t have Joey Bosa.

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After Bosa’s post-game comments, the line should have a chip on their shoulders. Not to mention they allowed Carr to get sacked four times in their last matchup. Last game Bosa only racked in one sack, but the pressure he caused allowed his counterparts to reap the benefits as three others also tallied a sack. The Raiders’ young offensive line has gotten better throughout the season. Carr has only gone down twenty more times since then after allowing seventeen sacks in the first six weeks of the season.

Mix Up The Offense

The Raiders offense threw several looks at the Colts last week.

Marcus Mariota played the most he had all season against the Colts. With that, Mariota totaled sixteen rushing yards on three attempts and had a pass attempt. If not for a defensive holding would have been a completion to Renfrow.

We, as fans, have seen what happens when the offense incorporates Mariota. The defense has to be on their toes. The threat of Mariota to run or pass has helped the Raiders keep numerous drives alive throughout this season.

Not only should the Raiders continue to incorporate Mariota, but also use some screens or fake screens. Last season the Raiders drew up a play involving Zay Jones throwing the ball after a fake screen.

With this game being all or nothing, the offense has to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the Chargers’ defense.

Keep Herbert Uncomfortable

Justin Herbert is an excellent young quarterback; there is no debating it. But like most young quarterbacks in the NFL, he doesn’t do great under pressure. The Raiders defense has done a good job making the quarterback uncomfortable all season. As you can see below, Herbert can function under pressure when he isn’t blitzed.

The Raiders aren’t typically a blitz-heavy defense, but the defense has to adapt. Gus Bradley has been in this league a long time, and the defense has shown the ability to blitz when it’s called.

Let’s hope that trend continues, and when they get to Herbert, they bring him down.

Home Advantage

The final key to victory is the home-field advantage. Being a younger member of Raider Nation, I never got to experience an Oakland home game. But I have heard stories about how hard it was to play in Oakland. That has to continue in Vegas this week.

I have seen posts on social media about making the game blackout and staying quiet on offense. So let’s do it. Things can be said all day, but that doesn’t matter if we fans don’t do it. Sure, Vegas isn’t Oakland, but we are still fans. We are still Raider Nation. So those of you going to the game, give the Chargers a taste of a Raiders home game and keep them uncomfortable.

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