Game Preview: Raiders Head to Miami Looking for First Win

The Raiders opened the season with two challenging games against the high-powered Rams and at divisional foe Denver. Looking at the schedule, it would seem a game in Miami would be a bit easier.

That was before the Dolphins went out and won their first two games.

Miami won its opener at home against the Tennessee Titans, 27-20, and then went on the road to beat the New York Jets, 20-12. While that maybe isn’t the most challenging of schedules to start the season, any NFL win in any week is good.

oakland raiders miami dolphins ryan tannehil

Ryan Tannehill may cause issues for the Raiders revamped defense. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is healthy and leading the Dolphins offense with a pair of effective backs in Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore along with a very good group of receivers in Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Danny Amendola.

Tannehill is throwing for less than 200 yards a game with four touchdowns and two interceptions, and the offense has a whole has only 653 total offensive yards, compared to 778 for the Raiders. 

“They’re a spread operation,” said coach Jon Gruen said at his press conference this week. “They spread the field and they have a lot of RPOs. A lot of running plays with built-in pass options and they’ll throw the ball to anybody. Tannehill is as viable a ball carrier as Frank Gore is, you have to account of him.”

The Raiders gave up 168 rushing yards to the Broncos, which the defense will have to address going against a better tandem of rushers in Drake and Gore than they faced against the Broncos.

On offense, the Raiders had a breakout game from Amari Cooper, who caught 10 balls for 116 yards. Derek Carr completed 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown against the Broncos as well.

“We’ve done a lot of good things,” Carr said on Raiders.com. “We’ve been able to get first downs, move the ball, keep the clock running, scoring points. We could score more points, rather than field goals. That would help. Honestly, as a team just learning how to close it out.”

Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso has been very active on defense, leading the team with 19 tackles.

The Raiders had four players listed as “limited” on their Thursday injury report in starting guard Gabe Jackson, starting center Rodney Hudson, starting running back Marshawn Lynch and reserve cornerback Nick Nelson. Lynch, Jackson, and Hudson all will play. Starting defensive tackle PJ Hall is out.

Miami had only two players listed as “limited” on Thursday in starting free safety Reshad Jones and long snapper John Denney. Gore didn’t practice on Thursday, but it was not injury related.

The Dolphins opened as a 4-point favorite, but that line has been bet down to 3 points. The total opened at 44 points but by Friday it was 44.5.

Game time is 10 a.m. in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.