After defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 33-16 in Week 7, the Oakland Raiders will travel about three-and-a-half hours southwest to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 8. The 5-2 Raiders have an opportunity to get on a serious roll with a win over the Buccaneers as there are four home games in a row awaiting them after this week. Heading home for four straight games with a 6-2 record would be an enviable position for Jack Del Rio’s team.
It won’t be a walk in the park for the Raiders, however, as the Buccaneers come into this game on a two-game win streak and sit only a half-game behind the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC South division lead. Tampa Bay has committed heavily to the run over the last two games as Jacquizz Rodgers has rushed a combined 56 times for 255 yards against the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.
Will the Oakland Raiders remain undefeated on the road in 2016 and move to 6-2? Or will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protect their turf and remain on the heels of the Falcons in the NFC South?
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) October 25, 2016
Find out in these bold predictions.
Raiders’ Defense Will Hold Buccaneers Under 50 Rushing Yards
The Buccaneers’ ability to run the ball effectively has been the biggest factor in the team winning its last two games. It takes pressure off of Jameis Winston, who has been known to force the ball in the passing game and opens up the play-action passing game. Expect the Raiders to try and load up the box to slow down Rodgers and the Tampa Bay running game.
Derek Carr Will Light It Up
Carr is playing the best football of his career and Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports believes that he’s the NFL MVP through the first seven weeks of the season. Tampa Bay doesn’t rush the quarterback all that well as the defense has only posted 13 sacks through six games and the Raiders could very well get Menelik Watson back this week. Look for Carr to shred the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Khalil Mack Will Sack Jameis Winston 3 Times
Mack has one sack in three of his last four games, but he’s yet to have that breakout game like he did last year against the Denver Broncos where he recorded five sacks. The Buccaneers’ offensive line has allowed 14 sacks of Winston this season in only six games and Mack should easily up that total on Sunday.
Amari Cooper And Michael Crabtree Will Combine For 200 Yards And 2 Touchdowns
There’s a good chance that the Raiders will come out slinging the ball around the field as the Buccaneers don’t exactly possess a dominant pass defense. Cooper had down week against the Jaguars as he only grabbed four balls for 29 yards, but he should bounce back against the Buccaneers. Crabtree has been Carr’s most reliable target this season and there’s no reason to think that this game will be any different.
Raiders Win Another Road Game
The Raiders enter this game with a 4-0 road record and they should be able to push it to 5-0 against Tampa. The Raiders have established themselves as one of the best teams in the AFC this season and heading home for a four-game home stand with a 6-2 record would put them in perfect position to win the AFC West and have a shot at a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
[Featured Image by Rob Foldy/Getty Images]