Brendan Ables says:
"D-Jax needs a breakout game. I know we didn't pick this man up just to be a decoy. Turn him loose!"
DeSean Jackson doesn't exactly need a "breakout" game. He has over 11,000 career receiving yards to his name.
The receiver, though, will be called upon more than ever with two weeks left in the season. Jackson quickly became a part of the Raiders passing attack since his arrival, and will be heavily depended on in Indianapolis with Darren Waller and Bryan Edwards currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In the Raiders last game against the Broncos, Jackson had four catches on five targets – both being his most this season. I believe those numbers points toward him being let loose in the Raiders offense that he's become increasingly more comfortable with.
Jackson continues to be a deep threat who can make plays in space. Jackson is for sure more than a decoy, he's a problem for defenses if not accounted for. His 102-yard Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys is good example of that.
Frankie Dean asks:
"Can we establish the run against the Colts?"
The Indianapolis Colts have fielded together an above-average run defense this season. Their defensive unit has allowed only nine rushing touchdowns and the 14th fewest amount of rushing yards in the league. Their defensive line is led by First-Team All-Pro DeForest Buckner, and they could possibly be getting Darius Leonard off the Reserve/COVID-19 list in time for Sunday's game.
Regardless, the Raiders run attack has been at its best this season the past couple of weeks. The Silver and Black racked up 160 yards on the ground in the win against the Broncos, and 98 yards against the Browns. The Silver and Black's run game has been trending upward with Kolton Miller, Andre James and the rest of the O-line playing at a high level.
"Once we got into rhythm and started kind of getting some good chunks in the running game, I felt like we were really getting into the rhythm that we should've been in all year," said Brandon Parker while evaluating the offensive line's recent performance. "But that's a part of the season, you progress and get better each week and grow from there."
If I had to guess, that rhythm should carry into their must-win game in Indianapolis. The Raiders could also be getting back tight end Derek Carrier, who was activated off IR Wednesday. Carrier would be great blocking addition for the run game if he can suit up.
Joe Audal asks:
"Is Darren Waller going to be back?"
That's still a very tricky situation and an interesting development to follow.
Darren Waller, after missing four games with a knee/back injury, was expected to return to practice this week in efforts to suit up against the Colts. However, Waller was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday afternoon. While there's still time for Waller to be cleared to play with a negative test, he's now racing against time to make sure his knee and his health are good to go in four days, potentially without a few days of practice.
"We have a whole slew of guys that handle that, I just know as of today he wasn't able to practice and we'll see what happens tomorrow," said Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia. "If it's the five-day protocol, then he probably wouldn't be able to play, but we'll find out here as the week goes on."
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 16 victory against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.