Prior to Week 15, the Oakland Raiders were in a tough spot in regards to their playoff standing. The Raiders, who were a popular Super Bowl pick prior to the 2017 NFL season, were expected to be one of the league’s powerhouses behind the talents of Derek Carr and Khalil Mack but have largely underwhelmed on the year.
Oakland had a good opportunity to keep their playoff hopes alive when they took on the Dallas Cowboys at home in Week 15. However, the Raiders once again came up short Carr fumbled the ball through the team’s end zone, resulting in a touchback and giving the Cowboys the final possession.
To make matter worse, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that Donald Penn is set to miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury:
#Raiders LT Donald Penn is having foot surgery on Thursday & is out for the season, source said. Oakland’s rock. 1st missed game since ’07!
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 18, 2017
Penn is Oakland’s steadying presence along the offensive line and protects Carr’s blindside. Now, however, Carr will find it even more difficult to buy time in the pocket in order to get through his progressions and get the offense humming again.
Even though Jack Del Rio expects Amari Cooper to return sometime during the year, it may not matter with Penn’s absence. The silver and black’s playoff hopes have all but evaporated, but should still try to finish out the season strong.