If the Raiders want to win their first game of the season, they’ll have to play a full game for the first time in 2018.
Oakland, at 0-3, has led at halftime of every game, yet lost to the Rams, Broncos and Dolphins. The team has gone dormant both on offense and defense of all three games. The Raiders have been outscored 37-3 in the fourth period.
Now Oakland will play host to the new-look Cleveland Browns Sunday. With new starting quarterback Baker Mayfield and a talented group of wide receivers and an improving defense, Cleveland has the potential to improve on its 1-1-1 record.
Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther says his defenders must start strong and end strong.
“I’ve never been through anything like this, really,” Guenther told the media this week, citing how well the defense has played over the first half of games. “For some reason or another, we just have to continue to do the things the right way. The plays and the calls weren’t much different. We defended them good in the first half. I don’t know if it’s us running out of gas or mental lapses because we’re new and everybody is new in this thing.
“I think we’ll work through that and that’s something that we’re going to emphasize this week.”
Mayfield led the Browns to a 21-17 victory over the Jets in their most recent game, and in doing so pumped life into his team over the second half. The Browns trailed 14-3 early, but the Browns outscored New York 18-3 over the final two quarters. Cleveland has shown it can be resilient with the game on the line.
This Sunday, can the Raiders?
Through three games, the Raiders are averaging 13.7 points scored over the first half, and just 5.7 in the second half. In their three games, the Raiders have lost leads of 17-7, 13-10 and 19-7.
Oakland quarterback Derek Carr says he and his teammates have to acknowledge the problem and improve. Fast.
“This is just what we have to deal with right now,” he said. “I think we need to finish our practices better, finish our lifts better, finish our meetings better, finish everything better, because clearly we’re doing a good job at the beginning, right? I think we can finish in all phases better.”
Oddsmakers believe this may be the week. They’ve made the Raiders 2 1/2-point favorites. Kickoff Sunday is set for 1:05 p.m. at O.co Coliseum.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source: NBC Bay Area