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Scouting the Raiders | 4 things to know about Las Vegas

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks to throw against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks to throw against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

The momentum is high for the Washington Football Team following three straight wins. A primetime victory over the Russell Wilson and the Seahawks gives Washington a 5-6 record and the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. However, Washington's defense will need to be the stars of the show against an explosive offense in Vegas.

The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a big overtime win against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. It snapped a three-game losing streak for the Raiders with quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders looked like a premiere offense totaling 509 yards and three touchdowns.

Here's a few notes to breakdown this Raiders team:

1. The Raiders have been all-or-nothing on offense.

In typical Vegas fashion, predicting how the Raiders' offense will perform on a weekly basis has been something of a gamble. There is no in-between for Las Vegas, which ranks sixth in the league with 385.6 total yards per game. The Raiders' contest have gone one of two way: they have either racked up more than 400 yards, or they have sputtered with less than 300.

The passing game is the strength for the Vegas offense. The Raiders come in just behind the Buccaneers 296.5 yards per game through the air. It has a decent run game that showed signs of improvement against the Cowboys. Running back Josh Jacobs had a season high 22 attempts and 87 yards on Thanksgiving Day. However, the Washington's rushing defense is one of the best in the league, holding opponents to an average of 92.6 yards, meaning it should have another favorable matchup.

2. Derek Carr has been a difference-maker.

The eight-year veteran is the primary reason for Vegas' success this year; he leads the league with 3,414 yards through 11 games with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Additionally, Carr's passes have been on point, as he has completed 67.3% of his passes. His main target, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, totals 658 yards and four touchdowns, which has already surpassed his totals in 2019 and 2020. The Washington secondary will have a tall task defending against the Raiders passing game, but players like cornerback Kendall Fuller h ave been playing well as of late. He recorded a season-high three pass breakups against the Seahawks and has 11 this season.

3. Different stories when it comes to third down.

Despite the ability to move the ball downfield, the Raiders have struggled to convert on third down this season. They rank 29th in the league on third down conversions with 34.4%. In their past three games, Las Vegas has converted 17% of their third downs.

On the other side, the Washington defense has taken strides when it comes to getting opponents off the field. During the team's win streak, opponents have converted on 32.26% of their third downs, which ranks seventh in that span. The Seahawks converted on 4-of-12 third downs on Monday night. Given how explosive the Raiders' offense can be, it will be paramount for Washington keep the Raiders from gaining any traction.

4. Facing a familiar foe.

The former Philadelphia Eagle is starting to make some noise for the Raiders. Jackson started the season with the Rams before joining the Raiders in Week 10. Since joining the Las Vegas roster, Jackson has four catches on five targets for 140 yards and a touchdown. Most of those stats came from the Dallas game, where Jackson had three catches for 102 yards a touchdown. Throughout his career against Washington, Jackson has 47 catches for 839 yards.

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