Monday 21 August 2017 / 06:11 PM

RAIDERS PASS ANOTHER BIG TEST

The Oakland Raiders advanced to a 9-2 record on the back of five straight wins with a rollercoaster of a 35-32 defeat of the Carolina Panthers. This weekend was packed with some phenomenal football, but this might win the game-of-the-weekend trophy.

Oakland exploded with 17 points in the second quarter and Carolina had none. It seemed as if the game was in the bag, but then Carolina scored 18 points in the third quarter and Oakland had none.

This made for a hell of a fourth-quarter game with the Panthers leading by a point. The Raiders ultimately won with 11 points to the Panthers’ seven in the final term, but this was the type of game that was a win for the NFL in general. Here’s what we learned:

1. Cam Newton is half man, half cannon.

Cam threw for 246 yards on 14-29 attempts, but what surprised me is the touchdowns he threw.

In the third quarter, he lobbed the ball directly into the hands of Ted Ginn Jr on an 88-yard touchdown pass. Newtown threw the ball from Carolina’s 2-yard line perfectly to Ginn Jr at Oakland’s 45, and he ran it the rest of the way.

Newtown would then also throw another 44-yard pass but this time to Kelvin Benjamin for another touchdown. Cam is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the NFL and I’m happy to see him getting into his groove after a rough season.

2. Derek Carr is a beast

Carr threw for 315 yards on 26-38 attempts with two touchdowns, and is turning into the biggest playmaker on the team.

This Raiders team really struck the jackpot when they have a quarterback not only capable of finding guys down field, running the ball when needed, but playing through crucial injuries to keep morale.

Carr had a nasty right hand injury that seemed to have turned the tides of the game as Carolina put up 25 points without any Raider retaliation. What’s Carr do? Slaps on a glove on his mangled right hand and led a 75-yard drive and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford in the fourth.

3. All Aboard the Oakland Raiders Bandwagon

Two weeks ago they stomped the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos. This weekend, they took down the reigning NFC champion in a good, fair game.

The Raiders have earned the respect of most NFL fans. They are a force to be reckoned with, and are no longer the Raiders that Oakland fans are used to watching. This was a gritty, physical, high scoring game that was fun to watch for all, but since we are nearing the tail end of the NFL season these games are starting to matter a lot more.

The Raiders have the perfect chemistry to attract bandwagon fans if they continue their rampage: they’re edgy, have sucked for a long time, and have been the underdog winner of many hard games this season.

4. Will we see the Raiders in the Playoffs?

The Raiders are #1 in the AFC West and are racing towards the playoffs, with Kansas City nipping at their heels. They are only one or two decisive games away from being knocked down a peg, but they seem to be so fired up that this seems unlikely.

The Raiders play the Bills on December 4th, and I’m not sure if they will choose to play Carr if his hand is still injured. They are going to need to be playing at full strength in the following game against AFC West rivals the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders should be able to lock down a wildcard spot at the very least, but they are in good company sharing a 9-2 record with the New England Patriots.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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