For the Oakland Raiders, the bye week is now officially here.
After several practices this week, the team closed operations for a few days, allowing both staff and players a chance to get a little R&R.
With a 7-2 record heading into the break, Oakland holds a half-game lead over rival Kansas City (6-2) in the quite competitive AFC West. Denver sits a full game back at 6-3, with San Diego three games back in the basement at 4-5. Oakland has meetings (all on the road) left with its three top rivals.
So, did the bye week come at a good time for the Silver and Black?
Getting Healthy Without Losing Focus
For many teams when they go into their bye week, there are pros and cons.
On the plus side, there is the ability to take some time to get healthy—something that older players typically will appreciate. That isn’t to say that some of the younger guys do not need time away to heal injuries, but the older ones usually need more recovery time.
If there is a negative to a bye week, it can be when a team has been playing good ball heading into its break, only to see that momentum dry up. While that outcome is hard to predict until a game or two after the bye week has been played, the Raiders certainly go into their time off feeling pretty good about themselves.
Other than an ugly home loss to Kansas City (26-10), Oakland has been rather impressive to date. Yes, there have been a few games the Raiders won that could have gone the other way (wins over Baltimore and San Diego quickly come to mind), but Oakland overall has been a pleasant surprise for its fans.
With the week off, can the Raiders sustain that strong play, awaiting their trip to Mexico City for next Monday evening’s game (Nov. 21) where they will “host” Houston?
As for any notable injuries still to deal with, defensive tackle Stacy McGee can definitely use the added time off, having missed the last several games with an ankle injury.
Before its win over Denver last Sunday evening, several players were battling nagging injuries, with star wide receiver Amari Cooper being the most notable one. Cooper played against the Broncos while dealing with a back injury. If the injury bothered Cooper during the game, it wasn’t all that apparent, as he finished the night with 56 yards of receiving. On the season, the second-year product out of Alabama has a team-leading 58 receptions for 843 yards (also leads the team) and a pair of TDs.
Lastly, running back Latavius Murray has 393 yards rushing to pace the team, along with eight rushing touchdowns (also tops the team for running backs).
Where To Go From Here?
With three of its last four games on the road, Oakland is no doubt trying not to look ahead, though it can be awfully difficult not to.
Given those three roads games are with Kansas City, San Diego and the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, the season could very well come down to those three weeks.
For now, however, the Raiders will sit back and catch some football from the comforts of home this weekend.
In other AFC West play, Denver will travel to New Orleans; Kansas City heads to Carolina and San Diego plays host to Miami.
Even though they do not crown a division champion after nine weeks of play, the Raiders have to be feeling pretty good about themselves with where they sit as rest awaits them during the break.
Post Author: Dave Thomas.