By Daniel Reedy
The Silver and Black enter week 13 on a five-game winning streak, its first such feat since 2002.
The home team has won each of the last five meetings between these two teams. The Bills haven’t won an away game against the Raiders since 1991; it took overtime and was in Los Angeles. The last time the Bills won in Oakland was 1966 … before the Super Bowl existed. Yikes.
Despite being one of the worst teams in the NFL for most of the last decade, the Raiders have had success against Buffalo. Of the last seven matchups, Oakland has won five of them; the most recent win over the Bills 38-17 in 2005 was with Kerry Collins under center.
During the Raiders’ winning streak, they have yet to score less than 27 points. In the same time span, Buffalo has topped that mark just once, scoring 28 against a lowly Jacksonville team.
Neither squad has posted strong numbers against the run (Yards: OAK- 26th, BUF- 21, TDs: OAK 24th, BUF 25th) but the Bills are 20 spots better against the pass than the Raiders who shamefully rank 28th.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor is lined up for a big day, but will struggle if his fifth-worst O-Line can’t protect him from the Raiders’ speedy pass rush of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Look for Taylor to use his legs to get out of the pocket.
Meanwhile, Raiders’ gunslinger Derek Carr has enjoyed the Raiders first-ranked pass protection (12 sacks against). His extra time has let the dynamic wide-out duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree find open space downfield. Carr has picked apart his last two opponents for 610 yards and five TDs.
But while the Raiders’ fourth-ranked aerial attack is among the league’s best, the running game has been dreadful. In the last two games, Oakland has rushed for just 86 yards on 51 attempts.
Conversely, Bills’ running back LeSean McCoy has run for more than the Raiders’ two-game total in half his games this season.
McCoy has been excellent, which is why Buffalo is still in the playoff hunt despite Taylor’s messily 11 passing TDs. Taylor ranks 31st in passing yards per game, only above the despicable Browns’ Cody Kessler.
Buffalo will look to slow down the thriving Raiders offense that has led the Silver and Black to its best record in well over a decade. It’s been a long time coming for Oakland but for as long as Raiders’ fans have suffered, the Bills haven’t made the playoffs yet this century.
Carr seems to be unfazed by the finger injury sustained last week against Carolina. Starting running back Latavius Murray is listed as questionable, but he’s been listed as such more times than not. The Raiders are good to go for Sunday and are likely to leave the home crowd happy.
Raiders 27, Bills 17.