Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals can’t afford an 0-2 start
The term “must win” is one of the more used phrases in the sports world. It’s hard to think about a Week 2 game of the NFL season so classified, but with that said, the Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders, who meet Sunday in Sin City, see I’m in a tough situation this week. A 0-2 start to either team in their respective divisions could signal tough times to come. And it will be on the horizon for one of them – unless we have a tie.
We’ve all heard the statistic that teams that start 0-2 rarely make it to the knockout stages. Less than 13 percent some of those teams have qualified for the post-season since 1990. While that may deviate more from the old playoff format (12 teams instead of 14), it might be appropriate in the Raiders’ case. and Cardinals.
Even with a 17-match schedule, losing 0-2 in the league’s two toughest divisions would be devastating. Las Vegas can’t afford to drop another game to keep pace in a fully loaded AFC West with Kansas City and Los Angeles, who let the Raiders lose 24-19 last week, 1-0, and Denver – despite a confusing loss to Seattle – is expected to be on the right ship and be in the playoff hunt this season. KC and Chargers will go head to head this week, giving Las Vegas a chance to take control with a win.
Only one NFC West team won last week, and it wasn’t the Cardinals, who were beaten by the aforementioned captains. If everything goes according to plan, the Rams and 49ers should be able to climb 1-1. Although, as we saw in Week 1, plans are subject to change.
Arizona is at an extremely disadvantage in the quarter-final match between Kyler Murray and Derek Carr. That’s not a the hit about Murray’s abilities, but Kyler is missing his best choice, DeAndre Hopkins. This will be the second of Hopkins’ six games suspended to test positive for PED. Murray overtook TD against the Chiefs twice in Week 1 – though less than the fourth round – but failed to hit 200 yards in the air.
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Hopkins opens the field up for Arizona’s offense, and without him, it could be pulling up the rear in their division until he returns. The newly-acquired Marquise “Hollywood” Brown wasn’t spectacular, although he did have a TD reception. But four catches for 43 yards is barely worthy of No. 2 receiver status. He’ll need to pick up the production while Hopkins is out.
Carr had his new favorite Raider target — and former Fresno State teammate — Davante Adams and looked to him early and often. Adams was targeted 17 times by Carr, catching 10 balls for 141 yards and a score. That was one hell of a debut in silver and black for Adams but just a tad bit aggressive on Carr’s part. Carr pointed out his and the team’s aggressiveness following the game.
“We did too many good things, and I was way too aggressive,” Carr Tell me after the game. “We came with a belligerent mentality, especially with all the weapons we had. That’s me, too drastic decisions in certain moments. “
It’s one thing to be drastic or enter a game with that mentality. That can be a great thing and is often what coaches ask of their players. But being active in a certain area can be too much and become predictable. Carr threw the ball the way Darren Waller did just six times, and he was the team’s second lead against the Chargers in Week 1. Waller — who recently agreed to a three-year, $51 million extension — was become a star in Las Vegas. a few years ago, so you can’t forget about him now that Carr’s college friend, Adams, was in town.
Against the Cardinals this week, the Raiders should be back on track with Carr getting a little more grounded. Adams doesn’t need close to 20 goals for this team to succeed. They have other options in Las Vegas. Hunter Renfrow has six targets and only three catches within 21 yards. Josh Jacobs runs well, averaging 5.7 yards per take, but he only has 10 dashes.
Once the Raiders figure out how to balance their attack, they’ll be fine. (Or things could go awry, ‘cuz, Josh McDaniels). But it needs to start this week against Arizona to avoid falling behind the first two games in the AFC West. On the other hand, Arizona almost perished. It feels like they’re on their way to being one of the teams in last year’s knockout round that missed out on 2022. Their defense was shredded by Patrick Mahomes.and criminal behavior doesn’t help them.
Raider Nation should be hyped for this game at home, helping their team avoid a 0-2 hole and have this game against the Cardinals.