After ten games, the Raiders are standing at 6-4 for the second consecutive season. However this 6-4 Raiders team could hardly feel more different than last year's team.
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a hard-fought battle that came down to the final minute. Raider Nation has a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to with the Raiders being competitive against some of the best teams the league has to offer. The Raiders are also getting healthier on both sides of the ball, putting them in a great position to make a playoff run.
Another week of great questions from you guys. If any of you have further questions or want to keep the conversation going, I'm always free to chat @theleviedwards on Instagram and Twitter.
Rob Navarrette asks…
"Has Morrow shown enough to earn more playing time when Littleton comes back or will he go back to his original role as backup?"
The Silver and Black will definitely be excited to get Cory Littleton (COVID-19/Reserve) back when he's ready, however Morrow has definitely proved his worth in his absence.
Littleton led the Raiders in tackles before he was placed on COVID-19 reserve and poses a threat to many offenses with his versatility. It also appeared that Littleton was getting more acclimated with the defensive scheme of his new team. He's poised to come back soon and take back his starting role, but I truly believe we're only starting to see the best of the Greenville Monster.
Nicholas Morrow has played exceptionally while Littleton has been out, totaling 13 tackles, three pass deflections, a sack and a forced fumble in his past two games. Coach Gruden and DC Paul Guenther have both vocally praised Morrow's game and are very high on the progress he's made as a Raider.=
Even when Littleton returns, still expect to see No. 50 flying around the field every week.
Joel Loya asks…
"With Matt Ryan one of the top passing yards this season, what game plan do we have to stop Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Todd Gurley?"
Many casual fans will see the Falcons' 3-7 regular-season record and just assume the Raiders will win decisively, but the record doesn't tell the full story of the 2020 Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons boast a top-ten offense in the league statistically this season and still have 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan leading the offense, as he's third in passing yards in the league (2,978). His weapons include two-time All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, who's rushed for nine touchdowns this season since coming to Atlanta from the Rams.
The young Raiders secondary may also have one of their harder tasks of the season containing wideouts Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Despite injuries causing them to miss action throughout the year, the duo has linked up with Matt Ryan for over 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. One thing to watch: Jones' injury status. Coach Raheem Morris said earlier this week that Jones may be a game-time decision.
If the Raiders want to win this matchup against the Falcons, they must use speed to beat them. The defensive line must win the line of scrimmage in order to eliminate Gurley's run attack and get pressure on Matt Ryan before he can find his explosive receivers. Jones and Ridley are two of the fastest receivers and the league, so it will be imperative for the Raiders safety trio of Johnathan Abram, Erik Harris and Jeff Health to stay deep and assist the corners playing on the outside — something they have experience doing after playing the speedy Chiefs twice this season.
Javier Ochoa asks…
"Lawson played a heck of a game in the slot! Any chance we move Joyner to safety a more natural position for him?"
The Raiders defense played as well as they could against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, however the disappearance of Lamarcus Joyner was very noticeable.
With the Raiders secondary still extremely young and growing together, Joyner and Jeff Heath represent the veteran leadership and experience of the unit. Joyner's versatility was definitely missed, as he can effectively play multiple positions in the secondary.
You're right — Nevin Lawson has played well at the slot with the return of Damon Arnette. As the Raiders secondary continues to get healthy, we'll see Paul Guenther get the most out of his defense and put them in the best spots to succeed.
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 11 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium.