The Las Vegas Raiders enter Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a whirlwind of distractions before one of their biggest tests yet of 2020. Our staff at Silver and Black Today provide their predictions for the Raiders vs. Buccaneers matchup.
Prior to Raiders’ offensive lineman Trent Brown testing positive for COVID-19 and allegedly did not wear his contact tracking device, the Raiders vs. Buccaneers matchup was viewed by many to be an appealing showcase.
As a result of the positive COVID-19 test, reports have come out that the NFL and NFL Players Association are investing whether or not, Brown was wearing his tracking device in practice, which is mandated by the league for all players, coaches and media members while being at the team facility for contact tracing purposes.
Due to uncertainties of not being able to identify who was in close proximity through contact tracing, the Raiders have placed offensive lineman Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, while also deeming safety Jonathan Abram a ‘high-risk’ candidate, putting him on the list as well.
The game has since been moved to Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT instead of the original 5:20 p.m. PT, for purposes of potentially needing to move the game to a later date if additional positive cases are to arise.
In the meantime, the Raiders will have all of their starting offensive linemen with the exception of Brown if the game is played on Sunday and they all continue to test negative. However, Abram will not be eligible for Sunday, because each player must complete a five-day isolation period and his time clock started a day later than the group of offensive lineman. If the game were to be played on Monday, Abram will be allowed to play as long as he tests negative leading up to the contest.
Friday’s injury report indicates the Raiders will be without two players. Cornerback Keisean Nixon (groin) and receiver Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) are listed as out. Meanwhile, defensive end Carl Nassib (toe) and defensive tackle Maliek Collins (shoulder) are listed as questionable and will be game time decisions. Players who are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list do not appear on the injury report.
The Buccaneers will be nearing full strength as their only player who’s game status is currently in jeopardy is safety Andrew Adams (hamstring) and is listed as questionable.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of the Raiders vs. Buccaneers Week 7 matchup:
Moe Moton Sr. Columnist
Unless the NFL reschedules this game to Monday or Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at a huge disadvantage. Right tackle Trent Brown, who tested positive for COVID-19, isn’t expected to suit up Sunday. The team placed safety Johnathan Abram and the four other starting offensive linemen exposed to Brown on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as they’re in isolation. None of them have come back with a positive test though.
Even if the Raiders have four-fifths of their starting offensive line and Abram, they would play Sunday’s game without a single practice this week. That’s not ideal going against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense that’s tied for second in sacks (22).
Whether they’re short a handful of starters or not, the Raiders should try to condense the game as much as possible with their ground attack and short, quick throws. That would protect quarterback Derek Carr behind a front line of backups and potentially move the chains. Regardless, that’s a tough task. If the Raiders vs. Buccaneers does indeed happen Sunday, give the edge to Tampa Bay. Buccaneers 31, Raiders 17
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
The current circumstances for the Raiders obviously hurt their chances, but in another sense, they’ve played four games this season without right tackle Trent Brown and his replacements have done a quality job in filling his absence.
Offensively, the Raiders pose a threat that ranks near the top of the league in what they can do from a running standpoint and from a passing scenario. Las Vegas is sixth in the NFL in points per game (30.6) and with Henry Ruggs now getting his feet under him, the offense is taking their potential to new heights. In games that Ruggs plays, the Raiders average 36 points per game. Whereas in games Ruggs is inactive, the Raiders average 21.5 points per game.
However, the Buccaneers possess a stout defense to go along with Tom Brady and all their offensive weapons at the skill positions. With that said, I’m predicting the Raiders to pull out a victory as long as Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson don’t test positive during their isolation period. Raiders 31, Buccaneers 28
Noah Strang, Staff Writer
The Raiders vs. Buccaneers prep week has been thrown into chaos after tackle Trent Brown had a COVID-19 test return positive. He will likely not play and the best-case scenario for the rest of the offensive line is that they return Sunday after not practicing the entire week. Safety Johnathan Abram has also been moved to the Reserve/COVID-19 list and this entire ordeal has been a huge distraction for the team this week.
Handling the Buccaneers’ defensive front was going to be an issue even with the offensive line fully healthy and I worry how a patchwork line will fare. The Raiders need those holes for Josh Jacobs to put together a productive day, and Derek Carr needs time to let Henry Ruggs III get downfield. With the way this week has gone for the Raiders, I think they have a very tough challenge ahead. Buccaneers 34, Raiders 21
Kelly Kriner, Staff Writer
I was all set to pick the Raiders in an upset and finally give a little “tuck you” to Tom Brady, but boy, how things change. I don’t expect any other linemen to miss the game, but the lack of practice time and the loss of Johnathan Abram are not ideal.
The Tampa Bay defense is flying around the ball like their hair is on fire. If the Raiders have any trouble establishing the run, the defensive line of Tampa Bay will have a chance to pin their ears back and try and take advantage of whatever form the Raiders’ offensive line takes on Sunday.
I believe Tom Brady will be able to pick apart the Raiders’ defense which has underwhelmed so far this year. Who knows, Mike Evans may even do something this week. Too many questions and distractions leading up to the game with possibly the best quarterback to ever play the game firmly stacks the odds against the Raiders. Buccaneers 31, Raiders 20
Matt Fallon, Staff Writer
The Raiders not only face a red hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers team who just beat the Green Bay Packers, but they’re also faced with an abundance of COVID-19 issues. Being already down Johnathan Abram and Trent Brown due to COVID-19 concerns, the Raiders come out of the bye week in worse shape than they went in.
Not to mention, Tampa Bay and Tom Brady just exposed Aaron Rodgers 38-10 last week. I still think this game is competitive and Derek Carr continues to have arguably his best season as I see the Raiders making it close but the high-powered Bucs’ offense is too much to handle. Buccaneers 33, Raiders 26
Scott Gulbransen, Publisher/Founder
What has to go down in Raiders history as the “Trent Brown Game,” Las Vegas had a chance to exercise another demon for the second week in a row. A win against Tom Brady would have been a great momentum builder on top of a great win two weeks ago at Kansas City and a bit of revenge for the Tuck Rule Game. Alas, the COVID-19 crisis of October 20, 2020, changed that. While the Raiders haven’t had any time with their starting offensive line, and are missing their leader in the secondary in Johnathan Abram, I still think they keep this close thanks to Derek Carr. But in the end, distractions and a lack of preparation hurt the Raiders and drop their second-straight game at Allegiant Stadium. Buccaneers 34, Raiders 28.