Raiders visit the Cardinals in a matchup of teams jockeying for draft positioning
Legendary coach Vince Lombardi said it best: "Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." For both the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals, the quote holds a lot of truth.
As the two teams will meet this Sunday, both will be hoping to get back on the winning track after suffering a lot of losing this season. Oakland has lost its last five games; the Raiders' last win came on Sept. 30. Arizona has just a one-game losing streak after losing to the Chiefs 26-14 in Week 10.
This will mark the 10th all-time meeting between the Raiders and Cardinals. Oakland leads the all-time series 5-4.
Oakland at Arizona
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Arizona -5.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Josh Rosen
Not only has it been a rough year for the Cardinals, but rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has also taken his lumps. In seven games, he has thrown for 1,280 yards, with six touchdowns against eight interceptions. However, Rosen had some positive moments against the Chiefs last week, as he threw for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
"Josh Rosen has had his rookie moments," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said earlier this week. "He’s also had some ‘wow’ moments where you can see why they went up and got him. It will be a great challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Rosen and the Cardinals offense should have opportunities to throw for a lot of yards against a Raiders defense that ranks 21st against the pass — assuming his offensive line gives him time in the pocket.
2. Derek Carr
Things haven't been any better for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr than they've been for Rosen. While Carr is completing 71.5 percent of his passes, he has thrown for just 2,441 yards, with 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
While there has been a lot of speculation on whether Carr will be the Raiders signal-caller in 2019, owner Mark Davis defended him to ESPN last weekend.
"Derek's taking a lot of s--- right now," Davis said. "He is the franchise quarterback right now. He doesn't have Amari Cooper. He lost (Martavis) Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who's he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they're not putting the fear of God in anybody. The tight end (Jared Cook) is playing his a-- off. You look at the quarterback, and he's playing behind a battered offensive line ... so I don't know what you can put on Derek, and I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on him."
Not everything wrong with the Raiders is Carr's fault. Their offensive line is in shambles. Also, the skill position players are less talented than in years past. But Carr is getting paid a lot of money, and they obviously need him to perform better.
3. Cardinals' defense
Against the Chiefs last week, Arizona's defense did something very few teams have been able to accomplish this season, and that's hold quarterback Patrick Mahomes under 300 yards passing. However, the Cardinals allowed wide receiver Tyreek Hill to average 16.7 yards per catch as he scored two touchdowns on the afternoon.
They will need a better effort against the Raiders if they want to come away with the win. They will also need to prevent the Raiders from running for more than 100 yards like the Chiefs did as well.
In the battle of who will potentially have the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, neither team has a clear-cut advantage. What this game could come down to is David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals have both Johnson and Fitzgerald, who are still potential game changers. The Raiders, outside of Carr, don't have much offensively. Advantage, Cardinals.
Prediction: Cardinals 20, Raiders 17
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.