It may seem a little strange talking about a must win game in November but that is what the Oakland Raiders face this weekend. They are already 3-5 and another loss would be a huge blow, and one that probably puts them out of contention. They rushed star quarterback Derek Carr back from injury early in the hope he could lead this team through their bad patch, and now they need to reap the rewards of that, and you can get all lines and props on the game at Bovada.
Their opponents in this one are the Miami Dolphins, who despite being 4-3 seem to have given up on the season already. They traded Jay Ajayi this week, leaving them very short at the running back position, and taking away a big part of their offensive game. It will be interesting to see how they get on over the coming weeks, Jay Cutler will throw the ball a lot and they have some good receivers, although that does make them very predictable and easy to play against.
While the situation does not require the Raiders to win this, another loss before their bye week would really knock their playoff chances. Carr appears to be close to full fitness now and that gives the Raiders hope, he is an elite quarterback who can change a game for his team.
One player who he would love to connect with more is Amari Cooper, who has been very disappointing this season. He has caught for just over 400 yards and added three touchdowns, figures considerably lower than his previous two seasons. His fellow receiver Michael Crabtree has double the amount of touchdowns and more yards on fewer targets and it has been Crabtree leading the team, not Cooper which has been a big surprise.
On the other side of the field, Jarvis Landry is the main receiver for Miami and he has had twice as many receptions as anyone else on the team. With an already big workload, that looks set to increase in the absence of Ajayi, Landry could be in for a productive second half of the season.
This is a game the Raiders must win, and a game I think they will do.
They have the better team, are showing the right intent by keeping their star players together and now is the time those players need to come to the fore. Big games are needed from Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, and if those two perform then the Raiders will win this very important game.