Week 15 was a rough one for the Las Vegas Raiders as quarterback Derek Carr went down with a groin injury early in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers, leading to an overtime loss that essentially killed all playoff hopes.
The Raiders now return to the field in Week 16 with a 1% chance of making the postseason, although they will certainly have to beat the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night at Allegiant Stadium to do so.
The good news for the Raiders is that the nine days between games was enough for Carr’s groin to heal to the point that he is able to play. While Marcus Mariota filled in admirably for him last week, there is no doubt that Carr is the Raiders’ best option under center.
Carr is facing a tough test in the Dolphins defense though as they lead the league with 26 turnovers and rank 11th with 37 sacks. The defense has been the driving force for their 9-5 record with rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also playing solid football in recent weeks.
In eight games (seven starts) this season, Tagovailoa has thrown for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions, completing 63.8% of his passes.
Although Tagovailoa’s offensive weapons have been banged up in recent weeks, they are welcoming back key players such as running back Myles Gaskin, wide receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki, who have all been dealing with injuries in recent weeks. The latter two are listed as questionable but are expected to play.
The Raiders’ defense has also been dealing with a number of injuries and will be without Clelin Ferrell once again. Linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Nick Kwiatkoski are also missing the game after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Luckily though, the Raiders’ secondary is in much better shape than it was a week ago with Johnathan Abram and Damon Arnette both returning to action.
In addition to taking care of their own business, the Raiders will also need some help across the league in Week 16 to keep their playoff hopes alive. It starts on Saturday night though in what should be a tough matchup against the Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium.