Oakland Raiders: Potential X-Factors In Week Three Tilt With Washington

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Thompson
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Thompson /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Thompson /

The Oakland Raiders are set for a prime-time matchup with Washington – let’s take a look at a few potential X-Factors in this game.

The Oakland Raiders (2-0), will be squaring off with Washington (1-1), in a prime time game from the nation’s capital. Oakland is looking to build on their best start to a season in a decade and a half, while Washington is looking for some consistency after a tight win over the Rams in week two.

Oakland’s offense is explosive and even more dynamic than it was a year ago. With new weapons like Cordarrelle Patterson and Jared Cook at his disposal, quarterback Derek Carr has an embarrassment of offensive riches.

There are question marks that still remain on the defensive side of the ball though.

Ken Norton‘s unit – or is it more John Pagano’s unit at this point? – is playing better football than many expected after a very lackluster exhibition season filled with poor performances. In many areas, they’ve exceeded expectations.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t still need some work. In some areas, a lot of work. The run defense hasn’t been nearly as stifling as it needs to be – allowing 126 yards on the ground to a Jets unit that doesn’t have a whole lot of punch.

For the season, Oakland is giving up an average of 110 yards on the ground – scarcely better than the unit that gave up 117 a game last year and ranked near the bottom of the league.

Third down defensive efficiency is another Achilles Heel for this defensive unit. They weren’t all that great at stopping third down conversion attempts through the first two games of the season, giving up a combined 54 percent conversion rate (14 of 26). That’s something that obviously needs to be tightened up if Oakland is going to continue on their upward trajectory.

There are a number of players who can and will impact this game – both for the good and the not so good, depending on your point of view.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the potential X-Factors heading into Oakland’s tilt with Washington.