The Baker Mayfield show heads out west for a meeting with the struggling Oakland Raiders. A 0-3 start was not what Raiders’ fans envisioned when Jon Gruden was hired. What they didn’t envision either was Gruden trading Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. It was a move that came out of left field and had a lot of people up in arms over the move. A few weeks later, it doesn’t make any more sense than it did back then.
More than just taking the most talented linebacker out of the equation, the move could have easily had an impact with respects to locker room continuity. I don’t think there was anyone on the Raiders who didn’t want a player of his caliber in the locker room. Taking that away may have ruptured a pipe with his former teammates. Nevertheless, everyone has to play better, notably quarterback Derek Carr.
If Carr plays better last week, the Raiders likely win that game. It wouldn’t have mattered if Mack was in the lineup or not, the offense just couldn’t cash in when they had their chances in the red zone. The Dolphins went ahead on a trick play, or maybe it’s not so much a trick play, after Philadelphia popularized it with their Philly Special play in the Super Bowl.
The Raiders looked like they were going to make a game of it late, but Carr threw an interception as he was targeting Martavis Bryant in the corner of the end zone. Why Carr looked his direction and nowhere else is a head stretcher. He lofted it up as Bryant was blanketed with little chance of the play going anywhere. Gruden just shook his head and watched a potential win evaporate with that pass. The Raiders would be a better team with Mack certainly, but it wouldn’t matter with Carr playing like this. He will get an opportunity to redeem himself in Oakland against the Cleveland Browns. All eyes will be on Mayfield to see what he does for an encore. Head below for our free Browns vs. Raiders pick for Sunday afternoon in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders NFL Week 4 Betting Odds:
vs. Raiders -3(-105)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Browns vs. Raiders Pick:
Along with Derek Carr, the Raiders need Amari Cooper needs to get going. It’s important that he has a big game to shake off the cobwebs. Gruden knows that much. The coaching staff said he was going to be Carr’s primary target in 2018. Carr throwing up an errant ball to Martavis Bryant with the game on the line doesn’t suggest that he feels confident in his receiver, though. The Dolphins gave him plenty of attention, but the Raiders have to find a way to get him the ball.
He was targeted 5 times and Carr got it to him for 2 receptions and 17 yards. It allowed Jordy Nelson to spring free, though, as he had a monster game with 173 yards and a touchdown. Carr ultimately threw 2 interceptions and 1 touchdown. He has passed for 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on the year, so that has to get fixed.
Carr doesn’t have much confidence right now, but the guy on the other side is overflowing with confidence. The first overall pick in the draft, Baker Mayfield, saw the first regular season action of his career last week against the Jets.
Mayfield came in for Tyrod Taylor and played like a guy who didn’t want to give up the starting job. Mayfield passed for 200 yards on 17-of-23 passing. Carlos Hyde rumbled in for 2 scores to give the Browns a 21-17 win. Things weren’t going to so well before Mayfield hit the field. With the win, it was the Browns first since 2016, which spanned a total of 635 days.
Now the Browns fly out west with another win in their sights. The way people have been talking this past week, you’d think Mayfield is going to lead the Browns to the World Series this season. I’d slow down and wait until we see Mayfield for a full season. Heck, how about we see him in another game. He didn’t even start against the Jets. This will be his first NFL regular season start.
The Raiders’ defense looked great for 3 quarters. They did a fine job against the run especially, holding the Dolphins to just 31 yards rushing. Their leading rusher was Ryan Tannehill with 26 yards, 18 of it on a scramble. The Raiders outgained the Dolphins by 61 yards in that game. The week before, they held the Broncos to 20 points, but offensively they got nothing going. That’s been the common theme for the Raiders this season despite the loss of Mack and all of the attention on their struggles because of the trade.
If Mayfield didn’t come in last week and play well would we see a 3-point spread here? No, it would likely be -5 or -4.5. The hype is real and it’s being built into this line. After an emotional win last week, with the Browns getting their first win in 635 days, and Mayfield getting the first win of his career, this is going to be a classic letdown spot for the Browns out west in Oakland. Gruden settles the doubters down for at least a week and gets the first win of his second stint with the Raiders.