Raiders vs dolphins
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

 

FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Dolphins – Week 3

Franchise Sports Media

 

After going on the road and earning an impressive win in Pittsburgh, the Las Vegas Raiders return home looking to extend their winning streak to 3 games. This week they host the Miami Dolphins who are still looking to find their groove on the season.

 

Raiders vs Dolphins
Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Raiders return to Las Vegas after going on the road against an old rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers and gaining an impressive victory. This marks their second straight season that the Raiders started off 2-0. Now, looking for their best start since 2002, when the team started 4-0, they will look to defend Allegiant Stadium against the visiting Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins hold an all-time record of 20-19-1 against the Raiders.

Although the Raiders and Dolphins don’t have the historic rivalry like the Raiders have with the Steelers, these two franchises are no strangers to one another on the gridiron. But lately, things haven’t gone so well for the Silver and Black against the Fins on the field. The Dolphins have won the last two meetings including last year when a blown coverage led to a 34-yard catch along with a roughing the passer penalty added onto it at the end that put Miami in field goal range to win the game. The Dolphins are 15-5 against the Raiders dating back to 1990 and are 4-1 against them under Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

But every year is a new chance to right the wrongs of the past and move forward to seek some revenge. The Raiders are off to a hot start to the season, while the Dolphins have struggled to get themselves going. In comparison, the Raiders are first in yards per game (475) and points per game (29.5) while the Dolphins are 31st and 32nd in those categories (264, 8.5). The only stats where these two teams are close in numbers are rushing yards per game (Raiders-67, Dolphins-72) and interceptions with both teams having one each.

While by the numbers these teams are on opposite sides, any given Sunday things can change, so don’t think this will be an easy outing for the Silver and Black.

 

The key to this match-up will be can the Raiders continue their hot start and not look past an opponent who’s struggling.

 

Raiders vs Dolphins
Photo Credit: The Phinsider

One of the easiest ways to find yourself on the wrong side of victory is to overlook your next opponent. Whether it’s looking ahead to a tougher matchup, not taking a team seriously because of what they’ve shown on the field so far, or smelling the roses too much thinking you’ve finally made it. What makes a team successful is how they not only prepare for the upcoming opponent but in doing the things they are expected to do. A good example is protecting your home field against teams that have a respectable record on the road and beat the teams you’re supposed to beat. When a team can do those things, that’s when they can be looked at as one of the elite teams in the league.

The season is young and the Raiders are looking to be in great form so far as not only is the offense through the air looking in sync, but their defense has a different level of energy and vibe that we have not seen for many moons. While it’s only week 3, the Raiders want to continue to make a point and seek some revenge against a team they felt they should’ve beat last season. And while by the numbers it suggests the Raiders should do just that, don’t think for a second that the Dolphins themselves aren’t out to prove somethings also.

 

Raiders vs Steelers
Photo Credit: Luke Straub/USA TODAY SPORTS

With their slow start to the season, the Dolphins suffered an embarrassing 35-0 loss last week to a division foe, the Buffalo Bills. While they pulled off an impressive upset in week 1 against the Patriots, the Fins looked flat last week and even lost their starting quarterback to a rib injury. Despite how they looked last week, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores will not tolerate many showings like that from his team. The Dolphins are also getting back deep threat wide receiver Will Fuller, so that’s another element to their game that could help get things going.

With the Dolphins looking to get things back on track for themselves, the Raiders are looking to not only keep things rolling but to hopefully keep their guys on the field. Quarterback Derek Carr got rolled up last week in Pittsburgh but is expected to play. The team has already dealt with injuries to their offensive line and starting running back. So staying healthy and keeping their leader on the field is key if the Raiders wanna look to keep this hot streak going.

While the Raiders have done a good job so far this season moving the ball through the air, they’ll be doing so this week against one of the best cornerback pairings in the league in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. The duo will look to shut down the Raiders passing attack. But with the team spreading the ball around to its different weapons, it keeps defenses on their heels and does not allow them to focus on any singular player, which opens up the possibilities for others to make big plays.

 

Can the defense continue making strides and be a complement to the offense.

 

Raiders vs Dolphins
Photo Credit: Tim Ireland/AP

The Raiders improvements on the defensive side of the ball have been the biggest eye-opener so far through two games. Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, being solid against the run, sound tackling, and overall players looking energized and eager to make a play. These turnarounds are truly what has this team looking to go in a direction Raider Nation have not seen for a long time.

The defensive line will look to have another big showing against a suspect offensive line and wreak havoc in the backfield regardless of who’s under center. Whether it’s Maxx Crosby, Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, or Carl Nassib, the Raiders front line has been a solid unit so far and looks to get even better as the season goes on.

The unit is also seeing strides by their linebackers as Denzel Perryman, KJ Wright, and Corey Littleton are showing signs of improvements, along with hybrid safety/linebacker Johnathan Abram. While not perfect, the linebackers are certainly not a weak point on this side of the ball and are finding themselves around the ball more and more. They have done a good job getting stops and bringing the energy that the entire team can feed off of. In the secondary, players are not giving up as many big plays down the field and you can see more and more confidence growing in this unit as they look to create more turnovers throughout the season. Part of the secondary’s improved play is because the Raiders are getting pressure on the quarterback. It’s all one big symbiotic relationship.

 

Out the gates fast, the Raiders can’t settle for early success as they still have a long way to go to prove themselves.

 

One of the most respected franchises in all of sports, the Silver and Black hasn’t had much success over the last 20 years and are still looking to get back to where they once were among the elite in the NFL. Doing this will take time and wins. So while being 2-0 is a great start, 3-0 would be even better. It won’t be easy, but with the understanding that coach Gruden and this team need to right the ship sooner rather than later, Raider Nation is excited to see that the foundation to get this team back where it belongs. But for now, let us focus on protecting The Death Star against the Dolphins.

 

The Raiders and Dolphins are scheduled to kickoff Sunday at 1 pm at The Death Star. CBS will be televising the game, check your local listings for the channel number.

 

Raiders vs Dolphins           Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             Raiders vs Dolphins             

 

-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

 

Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

Follow The Franchise on social media

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube