During Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fractured his fibula in the second half, ending his season.
Even though the team won the game, how far will the team go in the playoffs without their quarterback and locker room leader?
In 15 games this season, Carr threw for 3,933 yards, 28 touchdowns, 6 interceptions with a passer rating of 96.7. Before suffering a fractured fibula, Carr was putting up impressive numbers, leading the franchise to their first playoff birth since 2002 and helping the team stay in the hunt for the AFC West division title.
In his place, the team is turning into fourth-year quarterback Matt McGloin, who has not seen any real playing time since the team drafted Carr in the 2014 draft. In the time that we have seen McGloin on the field, he has not looked great but he could be a decent backup with an average arm, and average in the pocket.
On defense, the team is highlighted by third-year superstar Khali Mack, who has turned into one of the best pure pass rushers in the league. Alongside Mack, the team has a supporting cast of Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson, Malcolm Smith, and Karl Joseph.
Even though the Raiders have a solid defense, it does have its weak spots, such as the secondary, which is ranked 25th in the league in passing yards per game. The secondary is known for giving up a lot of passing yards per game and heading into the playoffs, where quarterbacks love to throw, that is a stat you would want to improve.
On offense, McGloin has good wide receivers core to work with, including Amari Cooper, who has shown potential to become one of the best young receivers in the league and is a problem for a lot of corners. Along with Cooper, the team has a good supporting cast in Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts and Clive Walford.
McGloin does not have a lot of experience at starting in the NFL, so the wide receivers like Cooper and Crabtree will have to step up and be productive in order for the team to go far in the playoffs without Carr.
The running game in Oakland headlined by Latavius Murray has been a big part of the team’s success this season taking some pressure off of the quarterback. Murray is playing great as of late, taking the opportunity of being the focus of the running game and making the most out of it. With Carr out, expect the team to give Murray more carries to take pressure off of McGloin.
In the AFC, the team has a lot of competition come playoff time in teams like the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Miami Dolphins. There are a lot of talent in those four teams, and the team is still fighting for the first seed in the AFC, not to mention they are also fighting for the AFC West division title.
Even though the defense is good, it can only do so much down the stretch. Look at the Denver Broncos for example, you have to balance the defense with a good offense and we have not seen a lot from McGloin to determine if he can take the team on a good playoff run.
At the end of the day, the injury to Carr is going to be too much for the team to get over. If the team still had Carr, they would most likely be contenders in the AFC, but now with him out, it is going to be hard for the team to get going in the playoffs with a lot of stiff competition in the AFC.
In my opinion, the team will get eliminated in the first playoff game if they get past the first game they will more than likely get eliminated in the second playoff game.
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