Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
The name of the game is disrespect.
Throughout recent years, both starting quarterbacks in this Week 3 affair toiled in the ridicule of fans and analysts alike. Why? For no very good reason, it seems.
Many doubted the potential of Derek Carr and whether or not he was a capable leader to guide the Raiders into their new pastures. Even before the move to Vegas, it appeared his standing as the team’s QB1 was just constantly being questioned.
Now — and yes, I know it’s only two games — the only thing that needs to be questioned is his league MVP candidacy.
Yes, again, it’s just a couple of weeks. But what Carr showed in those first two contests was legitimately special. After a thrilling 34-30 victory in the opener, Carr followed that up with arguably the performance of his career to pull off a come-from-behind upset of the Saints on Monday Night Football — and in the first game at brand-new Allegiant Stadium.
As refreshing as this may be, it also shouldn’t come as that surprising. Carr registered career-best marks only a year ago in passing yards (4,054), completion percentage (70.4 percent), yards-per-attempt (7.9) and passer rating (100.8), so the writing has kinda been on the wall.
This is Year 3 of the relationship between Carr and coach Jon Gruden. Perhaps they are simply clicking a lot more than before.
And what about Cam Newton? The disrespect was very real. According to The Ringer, New England was the one organization out of all 32 to offer him a contract. Only one other team (Browns?!) even gave him the time of day to discuss.
This man — this former league MVP, to be specific — was freely available all the way up until late-June, when he finally inked a contract. And he’s been the best bargain at his $1.1 million (plus incentives) price.
Newton isn’t just dicing up opposing defenses through the air; he’s also doing it with his feet like old times, as evident in the four rushing touchdowns he’s already compiled. Uh, that’s tied with former teammate Christian McCaffrey — a running back — for tops in the league. He’s second behind only Kyler Murray in QB runs that generate at least 10 yards.
Yet, it’s his arm that will have you thinking the clock has been turned back to 2015. Newton is coming off a sensational outing last week that saw him throw for a whopping 397 yards — his highest total in nine seasons — and he’s now amassed a 96.8 passer rating. The only time he recorded a higher mark was his MVP year.
Very clearly, a motivated and hungry Newton is back and as dangerous as ever. Seeking to continue his crusade over the rest of the league, he gets an opponent that yields a decent amount of scoring. The Raiders allowed the third-most points per week in the AFC last year (26.2) and through two weeks, they’re giving up 27.
This is also a desirable matchup for Newton due to Las Vegas’ lack of pressure on the quarterback. Since Gruden took over, the Raiders have consistently been anchored toward the bottom in sacks, and so far it looks like that trend will ring true once again in 2020. They’ve managed only one sack.
Both of these teams are in a groove right now. The disrespect is no more, as they will also garner CBS’ “A” announce team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo. Expect the quarterbacks to justify why in this outing.
The Bet: OVER 47 (-110)
Record: 1-1, -0.1 unit
Last Week: Ravens-Texans Over 50 (“loss”)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit