Last season, the Raiders were 6-4 with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs in the final season in Oakland.
That’s when a trip to New York changed the season in the worse way. A 34-3 loss to a three-win Jets team set off a last season collapse. The Raiders lost 5 of their last 6 games, finishing with a 7-9 record.
Flash forward to this season. Just a few weeks ago, Las Vegas was 6-3 with a win over Kansas City. In the rematch, the Raiders were competitive but eventually fell 35-31. There was nothing embarrassing about the loss to the defending champions, that would come a week later in Atlanta.
The 43-13 loss to the Falcons was reminiscent to the Jets loss from the season before. Speaking of the Jets, the Raiders were back in New York a week later where it took a Gregg Williams defensive blunder with 5 seconds left for Las Vegas to escape with a win. That over the top euphoria about beating the winless Jets quickly dissipated with a loss to the Colts leaving the Raiders and 7-6 and fighting for their playoff lives.
This week the Raiders fired defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther and replaced him with 71 year old Rod Marinelli. “We need a new voice right now,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “We need new energy.”
Energy isn’t the issue, personnel is. For the most part, the defense was built by Gruden and Mike Mayock. The Raiders defense is ranked 30th in points per game. They routinely miss tackles in bunches. Last week, the Indianapolis Colts ran for 212 yards. It was the second consecutive week that the Raiders gave up over 200 yards on the ground.
Currently the Raiders are on the outside looking in. The NFL expanded the playoffs to seven teams and Las Vegas currently sits in ninth place.
Up Next: Los Angeles Chargers
The Raiders come into Thursday’s game as a 3-point favorite. Las Vegas won the first meeting, 31-26.
The Chargers thought they won on the final play of the game but replay reversed Donald Parham Jr’s catch to an incomplete pass.