The AFC West-leading Oakland Raiders will play host to the 4-6 Carolina Panthers during Week 12 of the 2016 Season. The 8-2 Raiders are coming off of a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night in Mexico City. Quarterback Derek Carr completed 21-of-31 passes for 295 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the victory.
“The fans here were amazing, especially because they were all Raiders fans.”
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) November 22, 2016
The Raiders have now won four games in a row and hold a one-game lead over the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. Carr has to be in the discussion for MVP as he’s completing 66.2 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2,800 yards and 20 touchdowns with only four interceptions through his team’s first 10 games of the season.
The Panthers will head to Oakland following a 23-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night. The win allowed the Panthers to stay on the fringe of the NFC playoff race, but it didn’t come without consequences as Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison, Leonard Johnson, and Ryan Kalil all suffered injuries that could keep them out of this week’s game against the Raiders and beyond.
Will the Carolina Panthers overcome a rash of injuries to pull an upset on the road and remain in the playoff hunt? Or will the Oakland Raiders run their winning streak to five games and remain in control of the AFC West?
Find out with these bold predictions.
Derek Carr Will Have A Monster Game
Amari Cooper’s 35-yard TD from Derek Carr puts Oakland on top in Mexico City. pic.twitter.com/hAnyrs0J1M
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2016
The Panthers have the No. 2 run defense in the NFL as they only allow 81. 8 yards rushing per game. On the flip side, Sean McDermott’s unit allows 271.7 yards passing per game which is 27th in the league. Expect Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to devise a gameplan that allows Carr to exploit the Panthers’ young corners.
Raiders Defense Will Force Multiple Turnovers
Karl Joseph with the Sombrero ✊ pic.twitter.com/QhQx6czrUS
— MIKEavelli (@MikeMolinero) November 22, 2016
Cam Newton has thrown 11 interceptions through the Panthers’ first 10 games of the season while the team has also fumbled eight times for a combined 19 turnovers. Oakland, on the other hand, has forced 17 turnovers by forcing nine interceptions and recovering eight fumbles. With the Panthers expected to play from behind, look for the Raiders to force multiple turnovers.
Raiders Defense Will Record At Least 5 Sacks
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 22, 2016
The Raiders are last in the NFL with only 15 sacks recorded this season as the defense has struggled to get to the quarterback. That should change on Sunday when they face a Panthers team that will be without starting left tackle Michael Oher, starting center Ryan Kalil and potentially, backup center Gino Gradkowski. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin should feast on the Panthers’ offensive line.
Amari Cooper Will Have 100 Yards And Three Touchdowns
Amari Cooper stops #55 right in his tracks, then turns on the jets pic.twitter.com/c6ME0ZH8DN
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) November 22, 2016
James Bradberry has been one of the lone bright spots for the Carolina Panthers’ secondary in 2016, but he faces a difficult matchup with Cooper. With Michael Crabtree on the other side of the field, it’s going to be difficult for the Panthers to give Bradberry safety help over the top, which means Cooper is likely going to get a lot of one-on-one matchups with the rookie. Advantage: Cooper.
Oakland Raiders Win By Double-Digits
The Panthers have their backs against the wall and can’t afford to lose any more games if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. That being said, the Raiders present an extremely difficult matchup for the Panthers, especially with Carolina likely to be missing a number of starters. Look for the Oakland Raiders to defeat the Carolina Panthers by a score of 30-17.
[Featured Image by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]