There are plenty of exciting matchups on the Raiders 2018 schedule including four prime-time games. But there is a clear favorite as to which opponent should be the most intriguing.
On November 1st — the day after Halloween — the Silver and Black travel just down the road to Santa Clara for a battle with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football. If there was ever a game that was sure to feature fireworks, this is the one. Let’s dive into the reasons that make this matchup so intriguing.
When Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo take the field, it will be the first time that the two quarterbacks from the 2014 NFL Draft will meet on the gridiron. Both are among the most talented signal-callers in the NFL, and are also two of the highest paid.
In 2016 he led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and a return to the playoffs while throwing 28 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions and finishing third in the MVP voting. That earned him a five-year, $125 million extension including over $70 million in guarantees making him the highest paid player in NFL history at the time. After a subpar 2017 season, he is looking to return to his 2016 form.
This off-season, Garappolo surpassed Carr’s record deal when he signed a five-year deal worth $137.5 million including $74 million guaranteed. The four-year veteran was originally drafted by the Patriots where he learned behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. After three years in New England, he was traded to the Niners where he started the final five games of leading the 1-win 49ers finish on a 5-game win streak throwing 7 touchdowns to five interceptions. He has never lost a start in the NFL (7-0) and his playmaking ability on a 49ers offense lacking weapons has the NFL world expecting big things from him.
Jon Gruden and Kyle Shanahan are two of the most respected offensive minds in the NFL. The last time ‘Chucky’ had a quarterback as talented as Carr, he orchestrated one of the best offenses in football during his original tenure in Oakland. It will be interesting to see how the veteran coach molds the offense around Carr, Amari Cooper, and Marshawn Lynch.
Shanahan was the architect behind the Atlanta Falcons high-powered offense which led the NFL in scoring two years ago. While the 49ers struggled offensively earlier in the year, they were lights out when Garoppolo took the field as he finally gave the head coach a talented quarterback to work with.
With two exciting offenses facing mediocre defenses, this game is sure to be a high-scoring shootout.
Bay Area Rivarly
When the Niners lose, Raider Nation wins. After finding themselves in the NFC Championship three years in a row under Jim Harbaugh, the “other team” in the Bay has struggled lately giving the Raiders bragging rights. Although, Niners fans never fail flaunt their five super bowl rings compared to the Raiders three.
The two teams finished with identical records last season (6-10), but on very different trajectories. The 49ers won 5-straight and the Raiders lost 4-straight. Adding to the rivalry was the coin flip for the 9/10 overall pick in the draft; which the 49ers won.
A win on November 1st would give Raiders fans bragging rights over their 49ers fan neighbors in what figures to be the last time both teams face each other as Bay Area rivals with the Raiders impending move to Las Vegas.
While Oakland has plenty of intriguing matchups in the upcoming season, there is no doubt that the Silver and Black have the Thursday Night Football battle against the 49ers circled on their calendar.
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