After a massive win in Pittsburgh last week, the Las Vegas Raiders are back at home to play the Miami Dolphins. The Raiders are looking to start their season 3-0 for the first time since 2002. After last year’s gut-wrenching loss to Miami at the hands of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and RB Myles Gaskin, Las Vegas is looking to replace those memories with new, better memories; perhaps memories of a Week 3 win. Let’s look at a few things to keep your eye on in the late window on Sunday.
Players to Watch
The Raiders’ biggest improvement this season has been their defense. A defense that was ranked near the bottom last year now has players ranked at the top of their position, like CB Casey Hayward. Hayward is ranked as the number 1 cornerback by PFF with a grade of 88.3. Hayward has played 76 coverage snaps without allowing a single catch. It will be interesting to see if he continues that streak in Week 3.
DE Maxx Crosby is another Raiders player that has left his mark on the NFL early this season. Crosby has racked up the most pressures by a pass rusher with 16. He also has the most QB hits by a pass rusher with 10. Crosby made QB Ben Roethlisberger uncomfortable last week in Pittsburgh and is poised for another standout game this week at home.
Offensively, the Raiders seem to be getting their groove back under the leadership of QB Derek Carr. Carr leads the NFL in passing heading into Week 3 with 817 yards. Carr has been also been one of the top standouts in MVP conversations around the league.
This week, it’s imperative Carr continues to play hot. A 3-0 start would give Carr and the Raiders a 75% chance to make the playoffs based on data after 1979.
Miami’s Season Thus Far
Compared to the Raiders, Miami has come out with much less spark this season. The team is 1-1 heading into Week 3 after a nasty 35-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills last week.
Former top-5 pick QB Tua Tagovailoa sustained fractured ribs in their Week 2 loss and will miss this week’s game to recover. Miami’s backup QB, veteran Jacoby Brissett, will get the start. This is Brissett’s first year in Miami, leaving fans wondering if he is up to the task. Brissett threw for 169 yards and an interception in his Week 2 appearance. Brissett and the Dolphins offensive line will have to be ready to take on an explosive Raiders defense tomorrow in Vegas.
Things to Remember
Las Vegas will again be without LG Richie Incognito, and superstar RB Josh Jacobs is doubtful to play due to injuries. They will also be without Safeties Dallin Leavitt and Roderic Teamer. After sustaining injuries during the Week 2 win, both RT Alex Leatherwood and QB Derek Carr are ready to go for Week 3.
This is only the second time fans get to see the Raiders play in Las Vegas. QB Derek Carr has reiterated this week on social media that the team would like fans to be quiet on offense and as loud as possible on defense. As fans get used to being at Allegiant Stadium, it will start to feel more like the Raiders have a home field advantage.
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