The Oakland Raiders seem to be rolling at the right time, as their victory against the Houston Texans extended their winning streak to four games. With the return to the Oakland Coliseum, Derek Carr and Jack Del Rio prepare for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
After beginning the season 1-2 at home, the Raiders have found solace in the Coliseum. The team has won three straight home contests (counting the “home” game in Mexico City). Del Rio will have his team prepared, as the roster has engulfed this business-like mentality needed for each opponent.
The Raiders enter Week 12 with a record of 8-2 and are first place in the AFC West. Although this success hasn’t been done in over a decade, the team still has six games remaining the season. With three divisional matchups remaining, the season isn’t close to being finished.
Entering Week 12, the Panthers have the 15th ranked defense (353.5 YPG) and the 15th ranked offense (352.3 YPG). To the contrary, the Raiders come in with the 29th ranked defense (393.6 YPG) and the fifth ranked offense (393.5 YPG).
The Panthers offense is well spread out, as the rushing attack ranks 15th in the NFL (107.5 YPG), while the 20th ranked passing attack is averaging 244.8 passing yards per game. Newton’s versatile style of play requires constant attention, as the quarterback isn’t afraid of taking a pounding in order to secure a touchdown or first down.
The Raiders offense has delivered on both cylinders, as Latavius Murray’s healthy return has helped ease Carr’s workload. The Raiders rank ninth with their rushing attack (118 YPG), while Carr and the offense are ranked fourth in passing yards (275.5 YPG).
Coming into the contest, the Panthers had won three of their last four games, which includes a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after leading by two touchdowns. After a dismal start to the season, the reigning NFC champions are attempting to climb back into the divisional race.
Entering the game, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. stated the intangible qualities that make Newton special, as he always draws a majority of the scouting. He and Jonathan Stewart form quite the running tandem, while Newton’s arm remains a waiting cannon.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave pointed out the importance of the running game and the emergence of rookie Jalen Richard in the rushing attack.
This offseason, the Panthers decided to not pay for cornerback Josh Norman, which has heavily decimated their passing defense. Carr and the receiving core should be able to execute against the 26th ranked passing defense.
On the other end, the Panthers front seven remains as solid as ever. The enjoyment the front seven get from hitting the quarterback and stopping the run is pleasant to see, but the unit will be without their leader this week.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly has been ruled out of the contest, while he still battles a concussion suffered during Week 11. Also of note, Panthers’ center Ryan Kalil has been ruled out, as he recovers from a shoulder injury.
The Raiders enter this contest with a relatively clean bill of health, although multiple players remain questionable for the contest. Murray, Perry Riley Jr. and Michael Crabtree are all expected to play, as each will be needed in this proposed slugfest.
The game at the Oakland Coliseum is slated for a 1:25 P.M. PST start and will be shown nationally on CBS.