Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield and 28 mile-per-hour winds are in the way of the Raiders' fourth win this season.
The Silver and Black will be traveling to FirstEnergy Stadium to take on the 5-2 Cleveland Browns Sunday. This Browns team is the most dangerous they've had in several years, getting off to their best start this season since 1994.
While the Browns have an elite pass rushing defense that has produced 18 sacks and 14 turnovers, they will be coming into the game without their No. 1 receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Raiders are also potentially getting some key players back on both sides of the ball that could cause some headaches for Kevin Stefanski and the Browns.
Here are six observations to watch out for going into the big game against the Browns.
Is Myles Garrett 100 percent?
It's no secret that the Raiders must keep all hands on deck against No. 95.
Myles Garrett has been having a monstrous 2020 season, as his nine sacks through six games games currently leads the league. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end has been able to do it all at the line of scrimmage beating blockers on the inside with his brute force, and off the edge with his speed and versatility.
"Myles Garrett, he's the cream of the crop," said Coach Gruden. "He's one of the very best in football. He's causing a lot of problems and turnovers, and he forces the ball to come out quick."
Despite Garrett's ability to disrupt the offense, it seems like he will not be coming into Sunday's game against the Raiders fully healthy. Garrett has been nursing an ankle injury he sustained in the Browns' win against the Bengals and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
He was a limited participant in Friday's practice and has been slated as “ready to go” for Sunday's game. As amazing a player that Myles Garrett has proven to be, his ankle injury could prevent him from playing at full strength against a dominant Raiders offensive line.
Field day for Derek Carr
Derek Carr could very well have his best game of the season in Cleveland this season.
The veteran quarterback has been enjoying his best six-game start of his career statistically, as he's thrown for over 1700 yards at a 72 percent completion rating and a 13:2 touchdown to interception ratio.
Carr could very well continue his success against Cleveland as the Browns has not had great success in the pass defense this year. Despite having produced 14 turnovers this season, the Browns have given up the third most passing yards and touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.
Derek Carr has been able to find success with receivers Nelson Agholor and rookie Henry Ruggs and his chemistry with the two receivers is continuously growing. Rookie wideout Bryan Edwards has also been a limited participant this week of practice and is questionable against the Browns, which could potentially give Carr another one of his weapons back.
Rockin' Cleveland Weather
The Raiders' biggest obstacle might not even be the Browns on Sunday. For lack of better words, it's going to be cold as hell in Cleveland Sunday.
The Raiders' will be playing in their coldest climate to date this season, as it's expected to be around 49 degrees at kickoff with a 90 percent chance of rain and 28 mph winds.
Coach Gruden has been making sure the Raiders are ready to play in this climate going into his home state.
"We've done a good job of that practicing with the wet footballs, receivers catching it and the quarterbacks throwing it," said Coach Gruden. "It's hard to simulate the cold, it's hard to simulate the potential wind, but we will go to the stadium tomorrow for a little bit. It's hard to simulate when you live in Las Vegas, it's hard to simulate Cleveland, Ohio. I'm from there, so we'll try to get used to the elements as soon as possible."
Will the real Raiders' front seven please stand up?
Many people have been very critical of the Raiders' defensive line, and it's fair to say they'll be ready to shut up the critics.
The Raiders defense produced zero sacks on Tom Brady last Sunday and allowed him to throw for 369 passing yards and four touchdowns. However all the pressure shouldn't be distributed to just to defensive line.
Watch for the Silver and Black to switch up their game plan with the front seven and get their linebackers in on some blitzes. The Raiders have been one of the least blitzing teams in the league and has produced only seven sacks
"I think we have a lot of versatile guys that can move inside and outside," said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther after practice Thursday. "Really again, it depends on the opponent and who the guards are, who the tackles are and we feel like we have the best matchup with our guy against their guy. It's really what it is every week, so we have guys who have been able to rush inside and rush outside, walk around as a spinner rusher and do those types of things. So, we look forward to that every week to again put these guys in the best position possible for them to succeed. That's our job as coaches.
"Obviously, we have to do a better job and I have to do a better job of putting guys in a position to succeed."
Abram is back at it
A silver lining in the Raiders game plan for Sunday involves getting back one of their best. Johnathan Abram has returned to practice after being removed from the COVID reserve list.
Abram will be imperative to the Raiders' success on defense, as he was the team's leading tackler before missing last Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.
"Johnathan Abram is back in the building, practicing," said Coach Gruden after Wednesday's practice. "It was a tough week for John Abram. He didn't do anything wrong. He was obviously held out of the game for precautionary measures. But he's tested negative every single day since July 28. Our young safety is ready to roll. We need him and we're excited to have him here."
Jon Gruden will be making his return to his home state of Ohio this Sunday.
Gruden is no stranger to the cold weather of Cleveland, as he grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, which is 65 miles west of Cleveland. Gruden was also a quarterback at the University of Dayton for three years where he graduated from in 1986.
Gruden takes pride of his home state of Ohio and is hopeful he can pull out a win for his family watching.
"My dad and mom are from Cleveland, but if you pick up the phone book, there's actually some Grudens that live there, so it's kind of cool. It's the only phone book I ever picked up where there's some Grudens, so it'd be nice to win a game in front of some fellow Grudens."
Check into Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center one last time for practice before the Silver and Black depart for their Week 8 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.