The Oakland Raiders have been preparing on a short week for their Week 12 battle with the Carolina Panthers, as the Silver and Black came away with a 27-20 win Monday night against the Houston Texans in Mexico City. The victory propelled the Raiders into the top spot in the AFC and the team will be tasked with squaring off against last season's Super Bowl runner-up and reigning MVP Cam Newton at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum this Sunday. The Raiders have continued to improve each time they take the field and quarterback Derek Carr continues to impress during his MVP-candidate season.
Before heading into the Raiders matchup with the Panthers, let's take a look back at the Week That Was.
Oakland Raiders Power Rankings: Week 12
The Oakland Raiders aren't just first place in the AFC West, but are at the top of the entire AFC conference.
That's right, just two seasons removed from their 0-10 start, the Silver and Black are back to their winning ways and pulled out another clutch win Monday night. For the Week 11 matchup, the team traveled south to Mexico City where it would take on a challenging Houston Texans defense. Coming into the showdown, the Texans ranked fourth in overall defense, while the Raiders offense was the fifth best in the league. For a majority of the game, Houston's defense was living up to expectations and limited the Raiders to 81 total yards in the first half.
One of the most notable aspects of this young Raiders team, is its resiliency and hunger to win. The team has proved time and time again this season that it is capable of grinding out hard-fought wins. In the fourth quarter, the Raiders not only tied the Texans with a huge 75-yard touchdown, via quarterback Derek Carr and fullback Jamize Olawale, but stopped the Texans on a pivotal 4th down and then proceeded to take the lead with 4:43 left in the game.
The Silver and Black are finding ways to win in a variety of facets and are showcasing their determination to win. This team has earned its record of 8-2 and Head Coach Jack Del Rio has the team surging toward the playoffs.
Let's take a look at the Week 12 Power Rankings list, brought to you by NFL Extra Points.
Five Questions Answered In The Oakland Raiders Week 11 Win Over The Houston Texans
The Oakland Raiders Week 11 "home" game was far from that.
While the Silver and Black did enjoy the benefits of a decidedly pro-Raiders crowd during their Monday Night Football matchup against the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca, the fact remained that the game was played in Mexico City, and as such, there were a lot of extra logistical steps that had to be taken prior to the game.
However, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's team overcame the challenges of playing a game internationally, and beat the Houston Texans 27-20 to improve their record to an impressive 8-2.
Heading into the primetime clash against the Texans we posed five questions that we were hoping to have answered Monday night, so with the game now squarely in the rearview mirror, let's see if those questions were indeed answered.
Derek Carr Set To Appear On Cover Of Upcoming Issue Of ESPN The Magazine
After an impressive win over the Houston Texans Monday night at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the resurgent Oakland Raiders are 8-2 and standing alone atop the mountain that is the AFC West.
Key to the team's turnaround – the Silver and Black haven't won eight game since 2011 – has been the play of quarterback Derek Carr, who after 10 games has established himself as a legitimate MVP candidate in 2016.
Carr has no doubt between spectacular in his third year as a Raider, but the ever-gracious quarterback is quick to deflect praise about his performance and instead shift the accolades to those around him.
In the most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine – available everywhere Dec. 2 – Mina Kimes takes a closer look at the Raiders offensive line, the men employed solely to keep No. 4 safe, and how their dominance has allowed the team as a whole to thrive.
Three Matchups We Watched In The Monday Night Football Win Over The Houston Texans
Before the Oakland Raiders flew down to Mexico City for their Week 12 "home" game against the Houston Texans, we took a look at three matchups that would be critical in determining the outcome of the Monday Night Football bout.
The Silver and Black took advantage of their opportunities – particularly in the second half – and flew back to California with a 27-20 win firmly in hand.
With the win, Derek Carr and friends are now 8-2 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC West, so before we fully begin looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, let's see how our three matchups played out.
Notebook: Raiders Look Ahead To Challenges Posed By Cam Newton
There likely isn't a player on the Oakland Raiders who knows more about Cam Newton than linebacker .
Bates and Newton first met when the pair were college teammates at Auburn, and although they spent just one season together, what an unforgettable one it was, as the Tigers capped the 2010 season with a 22-19 win over the Oregon Ducks in the BCS National Championship Game.
It was certainly a memorable season for Newton individually, as he also won the Heisman Trophy, but Bates also has very fond memories of his sophomore campaign with the Tigers.
"It was an amazing year," said Bates. "It was kind of like a dream, really, because we were going through all those games, and before you know it, you look up, and you're an undefeated team, then you're going to the National Championship, and then being able to watch [Newton] play, he's probably going to be the best quarterback to ever play college football, so to be able to be a part of that team was just amazing."
Both Bates and Newton eventually found their way to the NFL, and their paths will cross again Sunday as the Raiders host Newton and the Carolina Panthers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Key Matchups To Watch: Oakland Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers
The Oakland Raiders are officially back home this weekend, as they play host to the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Following the team's Monday night win over the Houston Texans, the Silver and Black own an 8-2 record, and have the outright lead in the AFC West.
Conversely, Cam Newton and the Panthers own a 4-6 record, which is good enough for fourth in the NFC South, but they have won three of their past four games over the last month.
The Raiders want to keep stacking wins, and the Panthers need a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive, so Sunday's game at the OACC should be an exciting one; here are three key matchups to watch closely during the Week 12 game.
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