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Raiders at the third-quarter poll

A look at Las Vegas as it heads into the final stretch of the regular season

NFL: New York Jets at Las Vegas Raiders
Antonio Pierce
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We’re basically at the third quarter point of the 2023 NFL season (this 17-game thing messes with the math) let’s take a quick review of the 5-7 Las Vegas Raiders and where they stand with three quarters of the season remaining.

Quick summary of the third quarter:

This quarter, of course, began with Las Vegas owner Mark Davis firing coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler on Halloween night. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce was promoted to interim head coach and assistant general manager Champ Kelly became the interim GM. Under Pierce, the Raiders have gone 2-2. They beat two bad New York teams at home and lost two games to AFC playoff contenders.

Offensive MVP of the quarter:

One of the players who has most benefitted from the coaching change has been tailback Josh Jacobs. He has had three good games during this stretch and he is a bigger part of the offense. That needs to be the case for the rest of the season, which may be his last days with the franchise.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images

Defensive MVP of the quarter:

It’s Maxx Crosby. It’s always Maxx Crosby. He had five of his 11.5 sacks this season in the past quarter and he is almost always on the field. The fact that he played against Kansas City after being listed as doubtful with a knee injury and he spent a night in a hospital during the week with some infections is incredible. But that’s Maxx Crosby.

Rookie of the quarter:

We’re going with quarterback Aidan O’Connell. He has started the past four games. He’s been OK and had some nice moments. But there are expected growing pains. Is the fourth-round pick the answer for the future? We don’t know that answer yet. But he hasn’t embarrassed himself.

Best surprise:

Just the overall spunk of the team after the coaching change. It was clear this team needed a reboot. It is far from perfect, but the team has been refreshed.

Worst surprise:

This offense is still uneven overall. Yes, it scored 30 points against the Giants in the first game of this quarter. But the Raiders have scored a total of 46 points (with four touchdowns) in the past three games.

Bold prediction for next quarter:

Three of the next four opponents currently own a better record than the Raiders do and two games are on the road. It won’t be easy, but let’s see the Raiders claw out a 2-2 record during the stretch.