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Pick Six: Antonio Pierce approaching history as interim head coach

1. Can Antonio Pierce stay undefeated?

Antonio Pierce has gotten off to a great start in Las Vegas.

With a 2-0 record, Pierce is the sixth interim head coach over the last 20 seasons to win their first two games as head coach. With another win against the Dolphins this Sunday, he'd become the first interim head coach to win their first three games since Gary Moeller with the Detroit Lions in 2000.

2. Will "The Nucleus" return to the Raiders offensive line?

After missing Week 10 with a shoulder injury, Kolton Miller has returned to practice Thursday in hopes of getting back on the field Sunday.

While the Silver and Black came away with a win in his absence, it's apparent how beneficial he is to the offense. The left tackle has improved every season he's been in the league, enjoying another career season in 2023. His 83 offensive grade from Pro Football Focus is currently the fourth-highest among all tackles in the NFL.

"Since I've been here and even watching Kolton in college, he's a guy that doesn't miss practice, doesn't miss plays, doesn't miss games, so it's very critical," Pierce said. "He's the nucleus, he's the captain, he's a leader. He's one of the best left tackles in the league in my opinion. Obviously [if] we have him, we're a better team. If we don't, it's next man up mentality."

3. The Raiders aren't backing down

Tua Tagovailoa has been a dangerous man at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins quarterback has a 19-4 career record at home, winning 13 of his last 14 home starts. His No. 1 ranked offense has been fueled behind his arm and his main receiver Tyreek Hill, who's leading the league in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and total scrimmage yards.

Nevertheless, the Raiders could very well catch the Dolphins slipping as their coming off their bye week. Miami has also lost two of their last three games after starting the season 5-1.

"Different jersey colors, different location, different scenery – but they put their pants leg [on] one leg at a time just like us," Pierce said Friday morning. "They strap their helmets up, just like us. And when we get there Sunday, they have to play football, just like us."

4. Bracing for the return of Achane

The Dolphins offense could be just a bit more explosive Sunday if rookie De'Von Achane returns.

The former Texas A&M star was placed on injured reserve following Week 5, and was designated to return to practice earlier this week. He's logged a couple practices as a limited participant.

Before his knee injury, Achane totaled 460 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns in four games played. He's the first player in NFL history to have at least seven touchdowns in their first four career games.

5. Kickoff conditions

This will be the longest road trip for the Raiders this season. In total, the Silver and Black are traveling an estimated 2,173 miles round trip to play the Miami Dolphins. Throughout the week, the coaching staff has moved practice time up earlier in the day to assist in players in getting ready for the 10 a.m PT kickoff.

According to The Weather Channel, the high for Sunday in Miami Gardens will be 82 degrees Fahrenheit with 71 percent humidity – making it the Raiders' warmest game this season in an open roof stadium.

6. History between the two

The Raiders lead the all-time series with the Dolphins 21-19-1, which includes playoffs.

The last time they faced off was in Week 3 of the 2021 season, with Daniel Carlson booting a game-winning 22-yard field goal to secure a 31-28 victory. The last time the Raiders beat the Dolphins in Miami was Week 9 of the 2017 season.

The Raiders hit the practice field at Intermountain Health Performance Center before their Sunday matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

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