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Raiders at midseason: Where do they stand?

A look at Las Vegas after 8 games

Las Vegas Raiders v Detroit Lions
Davante Adams
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

We’re basically at the halfway mark of the 2023 NFL season (this 17-game thing messes with the math) let’s take a quick review of the 3-5 Las Vegas Raiders after the second quarter of the season ended with a 26-14 Week 8 loss at the Detroit Lions on Monday night:

Quick summary of the second quarter:

They were 2-2 after going 1-3 in the first quarter. But you can’t say there was much progress. The Raiders have played three very close games, all the games they’ve won this season. All of their losses were not that close. They’re not playing good football and that’s why Mark Davis made the stunning Halloween night decision to fire Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.

Offensive MVP:

It was an awful quarter for the Raiders’ offense. It accounted for 55 points in four games and didn’t score more than 19 points in a game. No one had a great quarter. But Adams in their best player. Yes, his numbers were paltry in terms of what he is expected to produce as he had just a combined 14 catches for 142 yards and no touchdowns in the quarter. For the season, Adams has 47 receptions for 539 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for a good, not great season. But it’s clear — his lessened production is a product of the overall offense and not Adams’ himself. He’s still a star, but he needs help.

Defensive MVP:

Maxx Crosby keeps getting better and better. He makes an incredible impact in both the passing and running game every week. He is a true star. Crosby is a pressure king and he has 6.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. ELITE.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Michael Mayer
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rookie of the quarter:

The Raiders’ rookie class hasn’t made a huge impact this season, but second-round pick Michael Mayer is coming along fairly nicely. The Notre Dame product has 10 catches for 148 yards this season. Ten of those catches for 146 yards came in the last quarter. His snap percentage is increasing and expect him to have a bigger and bigger role in the offense as the season progress.

Best surprise:

The defense has been timely. The Raiders’ two wins this quarter were both sealed by a defensive play in the final minute (an interception and a safety). The defense is giving up big chunk plays still and is having trouble tackling, but it has been making more plays to keep the Raiders alive.

Worst surprise:

You can point at the Raiders’ offensive woes on several areas, but the quarterback play has been dreadful, beginning with starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Brian Hoyer and Aidan O’Connell have also played and they haven’t looked good, either. That was a bad look for Josh McDaniels, who was hired, in part because of his reputation as a quarterback guru. McDaniels brought in a completely new quarterback room in 2023 and the outlook (both for the rest of this season and for the future) looks bleak. That fell squarely on McDaniels. Perhaps the changed staff will help O’Connell as he takes over.

Bold prediction for next quarter:

The Raiders have played a pretty easy schedule. five of the Raiders’ first eight opponents have losing records. Three of the next four opponents currently have winning records. So, Las Vegas’ schedule is finally toughening up. Unless, the light suddenly comes on for this team under interim coach Antonio Pierce (and it could), I see a 1-3 third quarter of the season.