There are a lot more similarities between the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars than just their 1-4 records. When looking at these teams you see some things that are eerily similar.
Like the Jaguars, the Raiders are playing the season hurt. They have nine players on injured reserve, one players on the PUP list, two players out in this week’s game (including ex-Jag Khalif Barnes), and two players questionable for the game. The Jags have nine players on IR, two on the PUP list, one out for the game against the Raiders, and three questionable.
But there’s more to the story besides just the injuries that mounted before and during the season.
In these two teams I see one weapon for each: Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden. McFadden is the entire offense for the Raiders. Similarly, Jones-Drew is all of the non-existant offense of the Jaguars. Both teams are forced to run their offenses through their running backs, not because they desire balance but because there are simply no other playmakers on the team.
While the quarterbacks carry considerably different weight at this point in their careers, the teams have still be unable to be effective. The Jags are last in points scored, the Raiders are 29th. Despite having two very good running backs both teams are terrible in rushing yards. The Jags are 22nd and the Raiders are 29th. The Jags are 30th in rushing touchdowns and the Raiders are 21st.
The defenses are equally mediocre. The Jags are 29th in yards allowed and 25th in points allowed. The Raiders are 24th in yards and 28th in points allowed.
We’re looking at two teams that fail at the same things on both sides of the ball. Neither team can really stop the pass or the run. Neither team can keep the opponent out of the red zone or the endzone. Further, neither team has any momentum coming into the week. The Raiders and the Jaguars are both on a two game losing streak since week three. At this point some of them have to be thinking more about the 1st overall pick than about winning another game.
While there are certainly differences between the two teams, this is looking more and more like the Toilet Bowl of the season. Both teams have won games against mediocre teams (the Steelers and the Colts) and neither team has enough talent to really make a push for the playoffs.
The only thing I can see turning this game is the quarterback play. Carson Palmer is decidedly better than Blaine Gabbert on average. Gabbert can be much better if he is clicking on offense (see week one). Odds are the PAlmer will continue his traditional above average play while Gabbert struggles. Who knows though? Maybe coming off the bye the Jags come out hot and decimate a team that they can decidedly leave in the mire at the bottom of the NFL.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims