It’s been a season of two tales for the Raiders. A bit of Jekyll and Hyde if you will. The struggles have come on the road, where the Raiders are 1-5, have given up 33.5 points per game and have a minus-six turnover differential.
Playing in the friendly confines of the Coliseum has been a different story. At home, the Raiders are 5-1 (including the home game in London) with a plus-four turnover differential.
The travel itinerary in 2019 has been legendary, with five consecutive weeks on the road that included trips to Minnesota, Indianapolis, London, Green Bay, and Houston.
However, with the opportunity to make the postseason still within in reach, the Raiders are coming back home for the next two weeks and will not leave the state of California for the next three before the season finale in Denver.
Jon Gruden was asked about the importance of defending home field during his weekly Wednesday press conference:
“We feel like we’ve played pretty good football all year,” Gruden said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, obviously, especially the last couple of weeks. But we are 6-6. It’s nothing to really brag about, but we’re excited about progress and we do like playing at home like everybody else. We’ve been on the road more than anyone in the history of the world now. 45,000 miles of travel is a joke.”
Based on the data, it’s hard to argue the road hasn’t been tough on this young team, despite the struggles away from Oakland the teams playoff hopes still have a pulse. It all starts this Sunday with a key AFC matchup with the Tennessee Titans that could have major implications on the playoffs. The Titans are currently the seventh seed, one spot ahead of the Raiders.
Derek Carr has found some success against the Titans in recent years. He has a 3-0 record with a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio. If the Raiders can defend their home turf in the next two weeks, they will head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in Week 16, which might feel more like a home game for the Raiders based on past years.
Coming out of those three games at 9-6 should keep them in the mix heading into Week 17 with an all important road game in Denver. Sure, the Raiders need a lot of things to go right in this scenario, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in this league.