Can the Las Vegas Raiders bounce back after suffering their first loss of the 2020 season? Our staff at Silver and Black Today provides their predictions for the Week 4 contest.
The Raiders got off on good footing to start the season, picking up wins in the first two weeks over the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. However, in Week 3 they ran into a refined New England Patriots team who gashed them with their running game, with 250 yards rushing. Now, the Raiders-Bills matchup looks like a game that could be ugly if Las Vegas doesn’t shore up its run defense and get back to its offensive game plan from two weeks ago.
Offensively, the Raiders have scored 29.3 points per game. However, the defense has allowed an average of 30 points per game.
The Bills come into the Week 4 contest with a 3-0 record, and a team that looks poised for the playoffs through the early stages of the season.
According to Friday’s injury report, the Bills will be without linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips (quad), while running back Zack Moss (toe) and defensive end Mario Addison (knee) are listed as questionable.
The Raiders’ injuries have begun stacking up as they look for their second win inside Allegiant Stadium. They’ll be without cornerback Damon Arnette (wrist/thumb), receiver Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) and defensive tackle Daniel Ross (foot). Meanwhile, offensive tackle Trent Brown (calf) and receivers Rico Gafford (hamstring) and Henry Ruggs III (knee/hamstring) are listed as doubtful. Also to note, safety Jonathan Abram (shoulder/thumb) and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral) are listed as questionable but have a good chance to play on Sunday.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of the Raiders Week 4 matchup:
Scott Gulbransen, Publisher/Founder
Both Jon Gruden and Derek Carr said this week that injuries are not an excuse for poor play or losses in the NFL. The Raiders are a banged-up squad who have yet to be at full strength on offense or defense. Losing Bryan Edwards and Damon Arnette after the New England loss isn’t helpful but as they always say, “next man up.” For the Raiders to have a chance against the high-flying Buffalo Bills and early MVP candidate (a distant third to Russell Wilson in my book) Josh Allen, the defense must play four quarters on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium. In addition, Carr must be the field general his coach, general manager and the majority of the fan base thinks he can be. I see this game as an absolute nail-biter that goes to the wire. In a surprisingly optimistic pick, I see the Raiders making some plays and protecting their home turf. Raiders 31, Bills 30
Maurice Moton, Sr. NFL Columnist
Let’s remember the Las Vegas Raiders won’t play the same Buffalo Bills’ defense that ranked top three in points and yards allowed last season. The Bills rank 16th in scoring defense and surrendered 167 rushing yards to the Los Angeles Rams last week. Even though the Raiders won’t have Bryan Edwards, and Henry Ruggs III will likely sit out, their key playmakers can still put up points: Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller. With the Raiders’ defense struggling through most of three weeks, we’re going to see a high-scoring matchup Sunday. In the end, Josh Allen’s hot hand (1,038 yards, 10 touchdowns, and one interception) keeps the Bills undefeated on a late drive. Bills 34, Raiders 28
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
Despite holding a 2-1 record, the Raiders haven’t been very good defensively, and those same tactics could end up haunting them when they host the undefeated Buffalo Bills. Quarterback Josh Allen is playing the best football of his young-NFL career, and with the Raiders’ defense allowing 406 yards per game, ranking 26th in the league — trouble could arise if the Raiders can’t flip the script defensively. However, I do expect the Raiders to throw their own punches towards the Buffalo defense as well. Even without Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, I think Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller can pick up their end of the bargain after having down-games in Week 3. This game could end up coming down to who has the ball last. In a close contest throughout, I have the Bills coming away with the close victory over the Raiders. Bills 31, Raiders 28
Noah Strang, Staff Writer
The Raiders have been hit by the injury bug and they will need a big performance to knock off a Bills team that is led by Josh Allen. Allen has had a great start to the season and with the Raiders’ defense continuing to struggle, I see him having a big day. The good news for the Raiders is that they should be able to put points up on the board themselves against a Bills’ defensive unit that is still finding its way. Carr will need to produce with a depleted wide receiver core, and I see this game coming down to a last minute drive. At this point, I have more belief in the Bills over the first month of football. Bills 34, Raiders 24
Evan Groat, Host of Just Pod Baby/ Staff Writer
Offensively, the Bills are playing as well as any team in the NFL, led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. Not an easy task for a defense who’s not played well through the first three games of the year. I need to see it from the defense to believe. Until that happens it will be difficult for me to choose them to win against a high-powered offense like Buffalo. Despite not having Edwards and Ruggs this week, I think it could be a week to get Darren Waller back on track. The Bills have struggled against slot receivers, so Hunter Renfrow should have a large role this week. In the end, I think Allen continues his hot start and the Bills win. Bills 37, Raiders 28
Matt Fallon, Staff Writer
The Raiders had an abysmal Week 3. The team is looking to play a cleaner, more ground and pound type of game this week against the Bills. Although Buffalo is 3-0, they have given up a 100-yard receiver each week and their defense has struggled. In order to compete in this game, the Raiders need to get Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller going early and often. Even so, I don’t see how the Raiders can slow down Josh Allen and the Bills. I believe the Raiders end up losing in a shootout. Bills 38, Raiders 34
Kelly Kriner, Staff Writer
Whenever you hear the phrase “no excuses” you know for a fact you are going to hear many excuses. Sure, the Raiders are beat up and missing players, but so is everybody else. Despite not having either highly touted rookie wide receiver, the Raiders’ offense should be able to put points up against the mid-tier Buffalo defense. This game will come down to the Raiders’ defensive ability to slow down quarterback Josh Allen. I am not buying into Allen’s sudden deep ball accuracy so if the Raiders can keep him in the pocket and make him beat them with his arm, they could win in this one in a shootout fashion. Bills 34, Raiders 30
By the Numbers: Raiders & Bills in Week 3
Las Vegas Raiders
Passing Yards: 249
Rushing Yards: 126
Total Penalties: 6
Penalty Yards: 40
Time of Possession: 25:21
Passing yards: 274
Rushing yards: 101
Total Penalties: 5
Penalty Yards: 55
Time of Possession: 27:48