5 Bold Predictions for Oakland Raiders' Week 4 Matchup Against Washington
The 0-3 Redskins provide a much more favorable matchup than that of the undefeated Broncos, but to take advantage, the Raiders need to continue on their path of improvement in a few key areas.
A convincing win has the potential to re-establish the Raiders as one of the NFL’s surprise teams in 2013, while a loss would have many pressing the panic button.
Here are five bold predictions for the Oakland Raiders' Week 4 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
Terrelle Pryor Throws for 300-Plus Yards
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Whether or not Terrelle Pryor will play in Sunday’s game remains a question, but he could be in line for a big day if he does.
Through three games, the Redskins defense has been one of the worst units in the league, especially against the pass.
Pryor, still just a few games into his career as a starting NFL quarterback, has looked more and more comfortable in the role each week, constantly improving his passing ability to complement his elite athleticism.
If he plays, the Redskins' porous defense could allow him to set a career high in passing yards, which would further his development even more.
Raiders Rush for 150-Plus Yards
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Not only has the Redskins defense struggled against the pass, the unit also ranks 30th against the run, surrendering an average of 155 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.
The Raiders’ base running game has not been impressive. In fact, Darren McFadden has been given virtually no chance to pick up positive yardage on the majority of his carries, as defenders have been in the backfield right off the snap.
However, Pryor’s ability to run the ball on read-option plays has allowed the offensive line a numbers advantage up front in some situations.
If the Raiders can make use of the read-option like they did in their first two games—and didn't on Monday night’s loss to Denver—they could put up some impressive yardage totals against the Redskins defense.
Putting that defensive unit on its heels early with some success in the ground game could allow for that yardage total to even get over that 150-yard plateau.
Raiders Offense Finishes Without a Turnover
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Another area of the game that will come down in the Raiders’ favor against the Redskins is the all-important turnover battle.
In most cases, and especially with two evenly matched teams, the unit that takes care of the ball will come away with the win.
After a two-interception game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Raiders have been getting much better at protecting the football on offense. Even in a losing effort against Denver, one of the NFL’s best defenses through three games, the Raiders won the turnover battle 2-0.
Establishing a running game early on against the Redskins will allow the Raiders the best opportunity to continue that trend. They should take their shots in the downfield passing game off play action rather than by necessity.
If the Raiders once again finish without a turnover, the game’s final result should be more positive than that of their Week 3 loss in Denver.
D.J. Hayden Gets First Career Interception
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Playing as the Raiders’ nickel corner, D.J. Hayden is getting plenty of snaps early on in his rookie season.
Thus far, he has yet to make a big play in pass defense, but he has flashed the ability to do so.
Although he has given up several catches, he has gone stride for stride with receivers and has been seemingly right where he needs to be in coverage.
The next step, of course, is to find the ball in such situations and make a big play for the defense.
Against a Redskins offense that has become reliant on the passing game in order to make Robert Griffin III more of a pocket passer, this could be the week that Hayden gets his first career interception.
Raiders Win in Convincing Fashion
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Should all of the aforementioned predictions work out, the Raiders will be in prime position to notch their second win of the season in convincing fashion.
Monday night’s loss in Denver likely put doubt into the Raiders’ potential to be a surprise team this season, but it is important to remember just how far above the rest of the AFC the Broncos likely are.
Sunday’s matchup at home against Washington is a favorable one for Oakland, as the Redskins have experienced some struggles on both sides of the ball.
A bounce-back effort and convincing win for the Raiders would be important to re-establish some momentum moving forward. It would reignite the talk of them being one of this season’s surprise teams in the process.