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Raiders Mailbag: Marcus Mariota could be the Raiders' biggest (open) secret weapon


Keith Gallegos says:

"No. 8 is the man! Raiders should kept him in the game."

Marcus Mariota has certainly been the man this season when given the chance to succeed.

While Derek Carr is still the captain of the ship, Mariota has been a vital piece in keeping the ship afloat the past several weeks. Mariota adds a dimension of unpredictability when he steps onto the field, with his ability to dominate in the run-option game while still being a quarterback who can make plays with his arm. What also makes Mariota special in the offense is his usage to help convert fourth downs and in the red zone. The quarterback has 64 rushing yards and a touchdown this season.

Last season against the Chargers, Mariota had to step in for an injured Carr and almost led the Raiders to a win. He threw for 226 yards, ran for 88 yards and secured two total touchdowns.

April Wagnon asks:

"Will Darren Waller play against the Chargers? I hope so, we need him."

I will never turn down getting a star player back in time for the most important game of the Raiders regular season.

Darren Waller missed five games due to a knee/back injury suffered in Dallas and when Coach Bisaccia indicated Waller could be ramping up for a return against the Colts, the tight end was then placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Wednesday morning, Waller was activated off the Reserve-COVID-19 list, and all signs point to him trying to get some reps at practice to prepare him for a return this Sunday. Despite having missed time, Waller is still second on the team in receiving yards and catches – behind only Hunter Renfrow.

"It's good to have him out there in the huddle and see him move around and we'll get a chance to see tomorrow where he's at," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Thursday about Waller returning. "Again, he's our premier player and has been since the time he's been here. I think the players on the offensive side of the ball – and the defensive side – would agree with that. He's our best player, again another strong leader. Strong leader in the huddle and a strong leader on the field. We'd be real excited if he's ready to go on Sunday."

In Waller's last three games against the Chargers, he's totaled 222 receiving yards, 18 catches and three touchdowns.

Chip Mullins Jr asks:

"How are the Colts ahead of the Raiders when the No. 1 rule of tie breakers is head-to-head?"

The situation is a little confusing considering the two teams have the same overall and conference record at the moment. With the Colts, Chargers and Raiders all at the same record, it comes down to league tiebreaker rules. First, between the two AFC West division opponents, the Chargers hold the head-to-head over the Raiders, giving them the advantage. However, the Colts hold a better division record that the Chargers, thus the Colts are the No. 6 seed, while the Chargers are at No. 7 and the Raiders are on the bubble.

None of this will matter, though, if the Raiders defeat the Chargers this Sunday night. If the Colts beat the Jaguars earlier in the day, then the Raiders and the Colts would secure the last two wildcard spots with 10 wins. If the Colts lose and the Steelers lose, the Raiders would get into the playoffs regardless of what happens in their season finale versus the Chargers.

With the Silver and Black's season finale moved to Sunday Night Football, take a look back at some of the top moments from primetime games in Raiders history.

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