The 2012 Oakland Raiders have been a complete failure. The running game has gone from good to terrible, the passing game is only good when the team is down three scores and the defense is making fans long for the days when Chuck Bresnahan was the defensive coordinator.
The Raiders are a meager 3-10 and it’s hard to call this a progress report at all.
Two of Oakland’s wins came against the Chiefs and Jaguars, which are the only two teams with fewer wins than the Raiders. The Raiders get to play the Chiefs for a second time on Sunday at O.co Coliseum and have a chance to get their fourth win. Yippee?
Winning would cost the Raiders a prime draft position in April and losing would make it possible for them to get the No. 1 overall pick. The Chiefs currently hold the No. 1 overall spot, but would drop below the Jaguars with a win over the Raiders unless the Jaguars also won.
It’s always a little sad when the biggest story coming into a Week 15 game is how it might impact a team’s draft position.
Primary Talking Point for Week 15
Rolando McClain was reinstated from his two-game suspension on Monday and put back on the roster in a surprise move. Dennis Allen was scheduled to meet with McClain on Wednesday morning and McClain was at practice on Wednesday, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Allowing McClain back on the team seems to run counter to the message that Reggie McKenzie and Allen have been trying to send since training camp. Any explanation for keeping McClain seems strange at this point considering his on-the-field play and off-the-field conduct.
Richard Seymour returned to practice after missing the past five games with a hamstring injury, but according to Tafur, he’s doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play Sunday. Seymour’s contract also reportedly voids at the end of the season and will make him a free agent.
Tyvon Branch also missed practice with neck and ankle injuries and Christo Bilukidi was out sick on Wednesday, according to Tafur.
Missing Branch would be a blow to an already weak secondary, but overall, the Raiders are the healthiest they have been all season.
Player on the Rise
Rod Streater has 196 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks. Not bad for the undrafted rookie receiver out of Temple University.
Highlighting his production has been his ability to make big plays. According to Pro Football Focus, 71 of Streater’s 196 yards have come after the catch thanks to plays of 64 and 58 yards.
Streater is starting to become a trusted option for Carson Palmer while Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey struggle. Streater will be tested this week, as he goes up against the solid slot cornerback Javier Arenas. Streater will have a big size advantage and should be able to use that to his advantage.
Stat Trends: Offense
Palmer fumbled last week and that cost the Raiders three spots in the NFL rankings for fumbles lost, but overall, Oakland’s stats remained steady despite scoring just 13 points. The lack of statistical movement downward after such a poor performance highlights just how poor the Raiders have been this season offensively.
The running game has gone from seventh in yards per carry last season to 24th in 2012. The offense has gone from 16th in scoring to 25th and from 21st in third-down conversion percentage to 27th.
These are huge declines in performance with virtually the same personnel as last season.
The offense was supposed to carry the weaker defense, and not only has it been unable to carry the defense, but it has compounded the issue. The passing statistics are clear skewed upwards because of all the passing the Raiders do when trailing by multiple touchdowns.
Stat Trends: Defense
It doesn’t get much worse than this. The Raiders defense only improved last week in rushing yards per game allowed because the Broncos preferred to pass. The Raiders' pass defense continues to be one of the worst in the entire league and the team has now released two players that started multiple games for it at cornerback.
Oakland’s defense has no redeeming qualities at this point. The team can’t rush the passer, it isn't forcing turnovers and it is not stopping teams on third down. The only thing the Raiders are good at is playing poorly.
If there is a silver lining here, I can’t find one.
The Raiders haven’t played a good game of football since beating the Chiefs six weeks ago and haven’t been competitive against a good team since they played the Atlanta Falcons tough on the road in Week 6.
This is a team headed straight into the ground and it seems to get worse at something every week.
It’s very possible the Raiders will win this week against a bad Kansas City team and look good in the process, but that’s not saying much. The Chiefs are just as bad or worse than the Raiders and it should be a competitive game for that reason.