The Oakland Raiders are coming off of a rough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and now must spend a week in Florida as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, followed up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 8.
Head coach Jack Del Rio looks to get the Raiders back on track as he goes up against the team where he got his head coaching start. The Jaguars have long struggled to find wins in the NFL but Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley has them on a two-game winning streak.
The Jaguars offense is led by third-year quarterback Black Bortles, who was selected third-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, the same year the Raiders took Derek Carr in the second round. Bortles hasn't had the same success he had last year thus far, but he has thrown 1,321 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions so far for through five weeks. Bortles is also a capable runner, meaning the Raiders must contain him and not let him hurt the Raiders defense with his feet.
The Jaguars offense features two speedy wide receivers in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson who have totaled 587 yards on 44 receptions and four touchdowns. They've struggled to recreate the magic from last year, but Sean Smith and the Raiders secondary can't relax against the two talented receivers. The Raiders are dead last in defending the passing game, giving up over 312 yards in the air a week.
Del Rio's defense has struggled to defend the tight end position in recent weeks and the Jaguars possess one of the toughest to defend in Julius Thomas. Thomas hasn't been very involved in the offense this year, but he's one of the best receiving tight ends in the league and is always a dangerous weapon. Thomas has just 13 receptions for 176 yards and one touchdown on the season.
The Jaguars signed running back Chris Ivory but have been without him for much of the season due to injury, leaving second-year running back T.J. Yeldon to carry the team. Yeldon currently has just 176 rushing yards and one touchdown. In all, the Jaguars are averaging just 71.0 rushing yards per game, second to last in the NFL.
Jacksonville's defense has been playing much better in recent weeks and is allowing just 321 total yards, 8th best in the NFL. A familiar foe will be along the defensive line after the Jaguars signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson. Book-ending the defensive line are pass rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr. who have six sacks in total. The Raiders offensive line has had a good year protecting Derek Carr and will hope to continue that success this week.
Second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper had a big first half last week and will look to build on his successful sophomore year. Cooper is tied for seventh in the NFL with his 36 receptions, while ranking fourth with 585 receiving yards. He'll have a tough matchup against a Jaguars secondary that's ranked 8th in the league.
Carr has been without running back Latavius Murray the past two weeks and struggled to get the running game going. It looks like Murray is going to return and will look to get the Raiders rushing attack back on track against a Jaguars defense that is allowing 103.0 yards per game on the ground, 14th in the league.
Del Rio and the team will stay in Florida after the game and stay in Sarasota all week as they prepare to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.