Win the Turnover Battle
Against the Chiefs, the Raiders didn’t get a single turnover. Kansas City protected the ball really, really well. Oakland didn’t and wound up losing the turnover battle 2-0 – one on a Derek Carr interception and the other on a Carr fumble. The Chiefs took advantage of the Carr interception to score a touchdown and scored another after a missed field goal.
Against Jacksonville last week, the Raiders forced Jacksonville into three turnovers – to Blake Bortles interceptions and a Rashad Greene fumble. They only managed to convert one of the turnovers into points – a field goal on the Greene muffed punt, but it was a day that they didn’t need a whole lot anyway.
Winning the turnover battle is crucial to success in this league and the Raiders have been doing a pretty good job of it so far this season. On the year, they’re a plus eight in the turnover margin – second in the league. Their 13 takeaways are tied for third best in the NFL, and their five giveaways are tied for second best.
In Tampa Bay, they’re facing a team on the negative side of the turnover differential column. The Buccaneers check in having given the ball away ten times, while taking it away only seven – good for a negative three in the category.
Of those ten Tampa Bay turnovers, nine have been Jameis Winston picks. Under pressure, he sometimes makes bad decisions with the football. It’s a weakness in his game the Raiders absolutely must exploit.
Despite their considerable troubles in the secondary, the Raiders are improving – and have shown a penchant for taking the ball away. Reggie Nelson, David Amerson, and Sean Smith all have two interceptions on the year. And rookie Karl Joseph has chipped in with one.
And facing a Tampa Bay team that throws as often as they do – 56 percent of the time, their 40 attempts per game, fifth in the league, if you’re scoring at home – they’re going to need the sticky fingers of their secondary to be working well.