Oakland is on a high after its electrifying win over Kansas City last Thursday night. Can the Raiders keep the magic going in the midst of another East Coast swing?
The good news is the Oakland Raiders are coming off a stunning even-after-the-last-second win at home against, what was at the time, the best team in the NFL: the Kansas City Chiefs.
Even more good news is the Raiders (3-4) basically had a mini-bye week since they played a Thursday game.
The bad news is now they again have to travel across the country to face a Buffalo Bills team coming off their own close win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are right in the thick of things in their division at 4-2.
It’s the first of two straight East Coast games, the second being against the resurgent Miami Dolphins (also 4-2). The Raiders plan on staying on the East Coast for the week, rather than travel back to Oakland between games.
Derek Carr, who threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas City, said that’s the right strategy.
“One thing for me is even last year, my family’s going to be there,” Carr said during his weekly press conference with the media. “They’re way more important than football to me. I’ll definitely fly them out so that they’re there so I can see my wife and my babies. But the advantage is, one, you don’t have to wake up earlier because of traffic or drive, you just walk downstairs.
“And two, you get to eat every meal with your teammates. It’s almost like another, I think I said it last year, it’s almost like another camp where we’re all together. We’re all doing things together.”
The Raiders scored 31 points against a tough Chiefs defense at home, with Amari Cooper coming to life with 210 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jared Cook was also a weapon with 107 receiving yards.
“Every week someone new is stepping up and that’s the great part about it. I’m excited to see who steps up this week.” – Bills Coach Sean McDermott
After Marshawn Lynch was ejected from the game, DeAndre Washington (33 yards and one touchdown) and Jalen Richard (31 yards) picked up the slack giving the Raiders at least a semblance of a running game to complement the passing attack.
Bills coach Sean McDermott has a no-name defense that has been pretty effective led by defensive tackle Marcell Dareus along with linebacker Ramon Humber and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.
“The great part about it for us at this point where we are and what we’ve done and what this team, this group of players have done and these coaches,” McDermott said on buffalobills.com. “Every week someone new is stepping up and that’s the great part about it. I’m excited to see who steps up this week.”
The Raiders’ defense will be challenged by versatile back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is just as effective running the ball as he is throwing it. Wideout Jordan Matthews and tight end Charles Clay are the main threats to catch the ball.
Even with the layoff, the Raiders defense is a little banged up with cornerback David Amerson (foot) missing practice on Wednesday and linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) limited, along with safety Karl Joseph (groin).
The Bills has nine players who didn’t participate on Wednesday, including Clay (knee), Humber (thumb), cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring), guard Richie Incognito (ankle) and Poyer (knee).
Buffalo opened as a 2.5 point home favorite and the total is 45.5 points. Game time is 10 a.m. PDT on Sunday.