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Raiders Mailbag: Could momentum shift with this home matchup against the Texans?

Michael Goble asks:

"Are the Raiders going to improve and make a run at the division?"

Michael, this is a fantastic question. My short answer – I hope so.

This Raiders team, despite being 1-4, are sixth in the league in points scored per game (25) going into Week 7. Their four defeats have all been by six points or less. The record is deceiving to how good this team really is, and could become.

That's why I believe this game against the Texans is imperative. The Silver and Black are coming off the bye week to host a Texans team in a similar situation. Houston has not lost a game by more than 10 points this season. This is a time for the Silver and Black to get off the ropes and build momentum going into the second half of this season.

We still have a long season ahead of us, but in my opinion, this is a must-win game for the Raiders to try to turn the season around.

Alexander Lopez says:

"Protect Carr and use the talented weapons we've got on the roster and keep playing like how they played the Chiefs a couple of weeks ago."

Even in defeat, the Raiders offense should be hopeful moving forward with how they competed against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Silver and Black jumped out to 17-0 lead, committing no turnovers with Derek Carr throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns. The offense under Josh McDaniels and Mick Lombardi seems to be trending in the right direction, especially with the way the offensive line has been playing. After being sacked five times Week 1 against the Chargers, Carr has been sacked an average 1.5 times per game in the next four. Additionally, Josh Jacobs is third in the league in rushing yards, with the offensive line's run block win-rate near the top in the league.

"Whatever five guys we feel like give us the most consistent part of practice in the game, those are the guys that are going to play," Lombardi said Tuesday regarding the offensive line. "Each week is a new week, but we feel pretty strongly about the guys that are playing right now in terms of the five or six guys we were rotating there on the offensive line."

Davante Adams, who leads the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, also expressed his optimism for the future of the offense after watching the game film from the Week 5 game.

"Pretty much every game that we've played over the break. I actually got a really good feeling from watching the tape," Adams said. "Obviously, you look at the record and none of us are proud of that part. But when you look at what we put into it – not that there's any moral victories in this, but you even look at some of the power rankings and the fact that they have us where they have us after having one victory at this point shows that there's something that we're doing out there that people are taking notice of and just not finishing to the best of our ability."

Corey Adam Sweet asks:

"Can anyone on this defense make plays consistently other than Crosby? Particularly getting off the field on third down"

Obviously Maxx Crosby is a standout of the Raiders defense as he leads the team in sacks and tackles for loss. However, saying no one else is consistently making plays is a stretch.

The additions of Andrew Billings, Bilal Nichols and Chandler Jones has been pivotal in stopping the run. Plus, when looking at third down conversions against this defense, they've allowed a 40 percent completion rating, which is in the top half of NFL teams this season.

The main objective for the defense, according to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, is to play persistently throughout the entire duration of games, and perform better in the red zone.

"I know it's been five games and we're trying to build that consistency," said Graham. "It's going to start in practice. I can't stress that enough. It starts with practice, and we've got to become more consistent out there on the field because there have been some good quarters of football. But again, nobody cares about that. You got to string together 60 minutes or 70 minutes if you're thinking about the Arizona game.

"What I do is go back to the drawing board in terms of making sure we get practices as close to game reality as possible and just keep improving from there," he continued. "And keep demanding the standard and just keep working for improvement each day. That's really the main focus right now moving ahead, is just improve each day. Make sure that we're emphasizing our strengths, trying to eliminate our weaknesses, and keep working that way."

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center to view the best photos from the Silver and Black's Wednesday practice.

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