Week 8: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cleveland Brownsby Nicolette Rojo November 1, 2020 0 comments
The Las Vegas Raiders aim for a bounce-back week on the road against the Cleveland Browns following a humiliating performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7. The Browns are coming off a shoot out victory in the battle of Ohio against the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams will be playing without key players of their team, so this game could go either way.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are statistically a top 10 offense in the National Football League at No.6. Derek Carr is looking like his 2016 self. Darren Waller continues to dominate in the tight end position and Nelson Agholor is emerging as a speed demon, torching secondaries each week. The Raiders’ struggles in Tampa Bay last week were expected with the COVID-19 issues among the offensive line. When a whole line does not practice for a week, the offense will struggle.
Despite the Raiders’ offensive line getting adequate practice this week, they will be without Trent Brown for another game due to an illness. His absence has hurt the offense, especially in Week 7, when the Buccaneers’ defense sacked Carr five times. With Myles Garrett expected to play, Las Vegas could have some trouble protecting Carr and building lanes for Jacobs. He is the X factor for Week 8 simply due to his poor performance against Tampa Bay. While facing the No.1 rated defense in the league is a big factor, 17 yards is unacceptable for a player like Jacobs.
Defensively, the Raiders have struggled all year with their pass defense, especially on the line. Their secondary is actually performing slightly better than expected with their youth. Johnathan Abram is back after being inactive last week due to close contact with Brown, who tested positive for COVID-19. Baker Mayfield is having a solid season despite injuries across the Browns’ offense. However, no pass rush means Mayfield will be open all day in the pocket, creating some havoc to the defense.
The Raiders’ coaching staff had the team practice with wet footballs all week to prepare for not-so-fun weather in Cleveland, which could help on both sides, including on defense. Arden Key is ruled out for Week 8 and has been a crucial part of disrupting the opposing offensive lines. Bottom line is that if the Raiders want to compete, they must execute on defense.
Cleveland is ranked third in the league in rushing yards per game, averaging 157 each week. Nick Chubb‘s injury was critical to the offense, but Kareem Hunt has dominated for the Browns and will likely have a strong performance against the weak Raiders’ defense. However, the injury bug has hit the Browns hard on offense. Odell Beckham Jr. is ruled out for the season with a torn ACL and Cleveland will also be without tight end Austin Hooper and guard Wyatt Teller. This improves things for the Raiders, but expect Hunt to run the ball even more so.
Mayfield continued to play lights out against the Bengals in Week 7 after Beckham’s injury, so it is crucial for the Browns to step up and protect their quarterback since the Raiders’ defensive line has some speed. Mayfield is solid in and out of the pocket, but if the Raiders pressure him as they did with Patrick Mahomes, expect the Browns to struggle offensively.
Garrett leads the league in sacks, with nine on the year. This will be huge against a depleted Raiders’ offensive line. However, their struggles come in the secondary, as they are third in the league in opponent passing yards per game (288.1). Carr also does a solid job of slinging the ball out of the pocket quickly, but if the Browns’ rush defense executes, he could struggle all day. Expect the Browns to put out more blitz packages against a struggling Raiders’ offensive line, which will be the difference-maker on both sides.
Date: November 1, 2020
Start Time: 10:00 AM pst
Location: Cleveland, OH
Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: LV +1 (-110) | CLE -1 (-110)
Moneyline: LV -105 | CLE -125
Over/Under: O 47.5 (-110) | U 47.5 (-110)
Despite injuries on both teams, expect this game to be a shootout. Both offenses also average 28.5 points per game, so take the over on this one.
This matchup will likely be a shootout due to Mayfield’s hot streak and the Raiders’ solid offense, particularly in their passing game. However, the Browns playing in front of limited fans in the Dawg Pound makes a difference, along with the weather since they are used to wet conditions. If the Raiders do not protect Carr or Jacobs, the Browns will excel. Therefore, expect Cleveland to edge out over the Raiders right before their bye week.
Final Score: Las Vegas Raiders 27, Cleveland Browns 31
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