Mathematically, the Las Vegas Raiders haven’t been officially eliminated from playoff contention. However, the odds are greatly stacked against them to reach a playoff berth. Our staff of Silver and Black Today provide their predictions for the Dolphins vs. Raiders Week 16 contest.
The Raiders currently sit with a 7-7 record after dropping four of their last five games. While they began their inaugural season in Las Vegas with a 6-3 start, their recent showings have displayed a different outlook than what was shown early on.
The Dolphins, however, sit with a 9-5 record as they’re well on their way to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Miami also has the No. 1 ranked defense based on points allowed per game. While opponents are averaging just 18.4 points per game, the Dolphins have a long list of players on the injury report.
The Wednesday injury report for the Raiders indicates they still have several players who’ve been held out of practice or have participated on a limited basis. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) and linebacker Nicholas Morrow (not injury related), did not participate in Wednesday’s team practice. Whereas cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion/neck), center Rodney Hudson (knee/back), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (calf), offensive guard Gabe Jackson (knee) and offensive tackle Sam Young (knee), were held to a limited basis.
Like most years, the football season takes a toll on teams late in the year and the Dolphins are experiencing just that. Offensive guard Solomon Kindley (knee/foot) and safety Clayton Fejedelem (thumb/NIR) did not practice. However, linebacker Jerome Baker (knee), offensive guard Ereck Flowers (ankle), tight end Mike Gesicki (shoulder), wide receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring), defensive end Shaq Lawson (shoulder), safety Bobby McCain (ankle), wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (hip), were all limited in practice.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of Sunday’s Dolphins vs. Raiders Week 16 matchup inside Allegiant Stadium:
Maurice Moton, Sr. Columnist
Quarterback Derek Carr practiced in full Wednesday. He could suit up against the Miami Dolphins Saturday. He would face a tough defense that’s allowed the fewest points going into Week 16. Marcus Mariota’s mobility could neutralize an aggressive front seven. Coach Jon Gruden should add in a couple of packages for him and lean on a heavy run-game script to offset the pass rush. Cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion) and safety Johnathan Abram (concussion) could return to action, but defensive end Clelin Ferrell has yet to practice this week because of a shoulder injury. The Raiders placed linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Vegas will struggle to cover the Dolphins’ running backs and tight ends in another defensive struggle at home. Dolphins 28, Raiders 24
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
The Raiders find themselves in a bind with several players battling injuries and additional guys on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. While the Raiders have shown they can upset nearly anyone this season, they’ve also shown they can lose to anyone. With so many uncertainties on both sides of the ball for the Raiders and having to face an ascending Dolphins team, I think there’s just too much for Las Vegas to overcome. Dolphins 31, Raiders 24
Mathew Fallon, Staff Writer
The Raiders have crashed and burned down the stretch, in an ugly second half of the season. The breaks haven’t gone their way — the coaching decisions have been off, and leads have been hard to come by. Posting a 1-4 record in their last five games with the only win coming in a miracle against the Jets, this week doesn’t get any easier. The Dolphins have a good defense, with a young offense that can put up some points. The Raiders are either going to play a hobbled Derek Carr or back up Marcus Mariota, with the Miami defense able to plan for it. I don’t expect this game to be all that close. Dolphins 38, Raiders 21
Noah Strang, Staff Writer
The Raiders have suffered yet another late-season collapse and it hasn’t been pretty. The Dolphins’ defense is a formidable unit that forced four turnovers against the Chiefs two weeks ago. A quarterback controversy seems to be brewing but whichever way the Raiders go, I expect them to have trouble against the young Dolphins’ defense. This year is over and it’s time to start looking at what went wrong so that these issues can be addressed in the offseason. Dolphins walk away with this one easily. Dolphins 31, Raiders 21
Scott Gulbransen, Founder/Publisher
It’s easy to pile on when a team is struggling both on and off the field like the Raiders. Injuries, coupled with a constant and uncanny succession of losses to the COVID/Reserve list, strikes again as the Raiders will be without linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. While Derek Carr may play, the odds he’s 100% are slim which doesn’t bode well for the Las Vegas offense. Even if Mariota goes, the Dolphins’ defense is one of the most aggressive in the NFL. You want the Raiders to finish the season strong — especially at home — but signs point to the opposite. Between injuries, poor play, COVID-19 losses and coaching blunders down the stretch, I sense another long day for the Raiders. This team doesn’t quit but it will be hard for them to muster an effort to top the hot Dolphins. Dolphins 34, Raiders 23