Derek Carr Could Return by Super Bowl – But Raiders Won’t Be There

derek-carr-injuryAfter years of being terrible, the Oakland Raiders have had an outstanding season, going 12-3 so far and leading the AFC West right now. But they also experienced the worst-possible scenario this weekend, watching QB Derek Carr suffer a broken right fibula.

They’ll have to try and wrap up the AFC West against Denver with Matt McGloin under center. The Raiders also must start the postseason without Carr. The only solace in this situation is that Carr could be back by the Super Bowl since his recovery timetable after surgery is 6-8 weeks.

If it’s six weeks, Carr could potentially play in Super Bowl 51 because the game takes place on Feb. 5 – six weeks and one day after his injury. Of course, the big catch is that McGloin will have to lead them there. So what are the chances of this happening?

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, this is a very unique situation in terms of quarterbacks getting hurt:

Head coach Jack Del Rio tried to remain optimistic in light of his star QB going down.

“It obviously is a blow,” Del Rio told ESPN.com. “That’s what teams do; teams have to find a way to pick up and move on. We’ll rally around the next guy as best we can. That’s what you do. It will be incumbent on the offensive line and the backs to do more. The defense to do more. The special teams to do more. As a team, pick it up and do more to fill in. Obviously, it’s a big setback.”

For Carr’s part, he feels that he can make a speedy recovery and possibly be ready for the Super Bowl.

derek-carr“Thank you to everyone that has been praying for me!” he tweeted. “Things happen in life that we don’t always understand, BUT I do KNOW this. I serve a God that loves me and that is the ultimate healer! I am not worried one bit. I will bounce back and be on my feet in no time!”

While there’s plenty of optimism in Oakland right now, the big problem is that this is a bad time for Matt McGloin to be reacquainted as a starter.

The fourth-year Penn State player started six games for the Raiders in 2013, his rookie season. He threw for 8 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and 1,547 yards in seven appearances.

The difference, though, is that this was a terrible Raiders team with nothing to lose. The situation McGloin is stepping into now is much different because the team has everything to lose.

McGloin and the Raiders can help their case a lot by winning next weekend against the Denver Broncos. The game is in Denver, but the Broncos may not be as motivated since they’re officially eliminated from the playoffs. If Oakland wins and New England loses, they would grab the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed.

Even if the Patriots beat the Dolphins, the Raiders will still wrap up a first-round bye with a victory over Denver. And this is exactly what they need to do for any hope of playing in the Super Bowl.

Playing one less game and having a guaranteed home game in the divisional round would be huge as far as their chances of making it to the AFC Championship and Super Bowl go.

We should also add that McGloin isn’t totally inept. As USA Today points out, the Raiders put a second-round tender on McGloin to scare teams away from signing him without giving up a second-rounder. Assuming a team still signed him, Oakland was willing to part with $900,000 for the draft pick.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie also paid McGloin $2.56 million, which is top-10 backup money. Now, they get to see if their investment and faith in McGloin has been worth the price.

While we think that McGloin can succeed under the right circumstances, these don’t seem like the right circumstances. They have one regular season against one of the league’s toughest defenses to prepare, then McGloin will butt heads with playoff competition.

Again, the hope for Oakland is that they’ll have a first-round bye to give themselves a better chance of making it far. But even with this, it’s hard to see them going to the Super Bowl without one of the league’s top quarterbacks.

Don’t expect Raiders to pass on a Good Quarterback

teddy-bridgewater-louisvilleOnce again, the Oakland Raiders are coming off a very disappointing season where they finished 4-12 and were nowhere near the playoff picture. And once again, they have the opportunity to land a high draft pick who could make a huge impact on the struggling franchise.

The Raiders pick fifth in the 2014 NFL Draft and their immediate focus appears to be on a quarterback. Head coach Dennis Allen indicated this by saying that QB is “a position we’ve obviously got to look at.”

The word “obviously” definitely fits here because Oakland’s returning quarterbacks, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin, don’t yet seem capable of leading a team to success. Pryor initially caused a spark after beating out Matt Flynn for the starting job in training camp. He rushed for 162 yards in the first two games of the 2013 season and led Oakland to a 1-1 record. Pryor was knocked out of the third game with a concussion and never developed any passing rhythm after coming back.

Pryor’s Week 9 MCL sprain gave undrafted rookie Matt McGloin an opportunity to start. Although he proved to be a better pure pocket passer with 1,547 yards, 8 TD’s and 8 INT’s, McGloin only led the Raiders to one win in his seven appearances.

Given their options, Oakland could definitely grab a more heralded signal caller. And the 2014 Draft class has a number of strong QB prospects, with Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles leading the way.

The only problem is that there are three other teams with pressing quarterback needs themselves. The Houston Texans, Jacksvonille Jaguars and Cleveland Browns all pick ahead of Oakland and could take a QB. Houston might go quarterback or defense, while experts definitely expect Jacksonville and Cleveland to go QB.

But this certainly hasn’t stopped Oakland from spending countless hours looking at game footage of passers. After watching the tape, Manziel is one prospect who really sticks out in Allen’s mind as he said:

He’s accomplished a lot at the collegiate level he’s been a very good football player being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy speaks for itself. I think he’s a very talented football player, he’s a multidimensional football player. He’s able to throw the ball from the pocket and do things with his feet. As we get more into the evaluation process he’ll be a fun one to look at.

Once again, though, Oakland needs to prepare for a scenario in which they don’t get Manziel or the other two top signal callers. There are plenty of other potential stars in the draft, including South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn left tackle terrelle-pryor-raidersGreg Robinson. Plus, the team doesn’t sound like they’re entirely down on the returning quarterbacks. “One of those things we have to determine,” said Allen with regard to who’ll start next year. “We’re going to look at that position very closely. In my opinion we’ve got two young quarterbacks with potential.”

However, Allen played devil’s advocate by saying, “I don’t know the answer to that yet. The quarterback position is the backbone of your football team. We’ve got to make sure that when we go out there this year, we put ourselves in the best position to have success with the quarterback position.”

Assuming Oakland really feels some urgency in this draft, they might consider trading up into one of the top three positions. But is it worth sacrificing other draft picks to move up for one player when you’re a team that needs so much? Maybe so, when you consider the large amount of quarterback failures that Oakland has experienced over the past several years.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 14 (Dec. 5th, 2013)

peyton-manning-chiefsLast week was characterized by a couple of very high-profile matchups between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. The Broncos proved their dominance of the AFC West by beating their division rivals on the road by a score of 35-28. Kansas City is still a lock for the playoffs, but the illusion of their defensive dominance is now gone.

As for the Saints and Seahawks, this one wasn’t even close as Seattle throttled the visiting team. Most believe that the Saints are nearly invincible inside of the Superdome. But they appeared very mortal while playing at CenturyLink Field. Here’s a look at how last week’s featured games will shake up the Week 14 NFL power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (10-2); beat Kansas City 35-28, retains same ranking – The margin between Seattle and Denver is slim. But it’s hard to bump Peyton and company out of the top spot when they just beat a playoff-bound Chiefs for the second time this season. Eric Decker had the game of his life after reeling in four of Manning’s five touchdown passes.

2. Seattle Seahawks (11-1); beat New Orleans 34-7, retains same ranking – So much for that bolstered New Orleans defense… Russell Wilson looked like a 10-year veteran the way he picked apart the Saints defense to the tune of 310 passing yards and three touchdowns. Oh yea, and Seattle’s defense was pretty good too as they shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

3. New England Patriots (9-3); beat Houston 34-31, moves up two spots – The Pats got off to a slow start against Houston. But they once again staged a big comeback on the strength of Tom Brady’s 371 yards and two touchdowns. On a side note, Stevan Ridley’s days as New England’s starting running back appear over.

colin-kaepernick4. San Francisco 49ers (8-4); beat St. Louis 23-13, moves up two spots – San Francisco ended St. Louis’ hot streak and took a big step forward in the race for NFC playoff positioning. The Niners, who began the year trying to feature Colin Kaepernick’s talents more, seem to be getting back to this approach now that they’ve got some wins under their belt.

5. New Orleans Saints (9-3); lost to Seattle 34-7, drops two spots – The Saints didn’t suddenly become a bad team just because they got blown out by a fellow NFC powerhouse. However, this loss does raise some questions about New Orleans’ ability to win big games away from home.

6. Carolina Panthers (9-3); beat Tampa Bay 27-6, moves up one spot – Nobody predicted this week’s game against New Orleans to be a battle for first place in the NFC South. But that’s exactly where we’re at after Carolina won a franchise-record eighth straight game. Cam Newton is playing the best football of his three-year career, and just threw for 263 yards, ran for 68 yards, and accounted for three TD’s against the Buccaneers.

7. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3); lost to Denver 35-28, drops three spots – Alex Smith is really looking solid at QB after piling up 293 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and three total TD’s. But what happened to that vaunted KC pass rush from earlier this year? Manning went virtually untouched for the second time these two teams faced.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4); beat San Diego 17-10, moves up one spot – Holding the Chargers to 10 points at home is no small feat. The Bengals supplemented their great defensive effort with a strong running game (164 yards on 38 carries).

9. Indianapolis Colts (8-4); beat Tennessee Titans 22-14, moves up one spot – The Colts put a halt to their massive struggles with a hard-fought victory over Tennessee. Their lack of a running game is disturbing and the Trent Richardson deal is officially a dud. But they still have a little bit of time to fix these issues before the postseason.

demarco-murray10. Dallas Cowboys (7-5); beat Oakland 31-24, moves up one spot – Dallas used a surprisingly effective two-back approach, with Lance Dunbar rushing for 82 yards on 12 carries and DeMarco Murray gaining 63 yards on 19 carries. Murray also got into the end zone three times against the soft Oakland D.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5); beat Arizona 24-21, moves up one spot – Philadelphia keeps pace with Dallas in the NFC West with a huge victory over Arizona. Is it time to anoint Nick Foles (237PYDS, 3TD) as one of the league’s top QB’s?

12. Detroit Lions (7-5); beat Green Bay 40-10, moves up one spot – The Lions absolutely terrorized Matt Flynn in the pocket and racked up seven sacks and a safety. Now, the challenge will be repeating this dominant performance against teams without Flynn under center.

13. Arizona Cardinals (7-5); lost to Philadelphia 24-21, drops five spots – The Cardinals don’t really deserve this free-fall after losing by three points on the road. But with everybody behind them winning and boasting a similar record, the margin for error is slim in this range.

14. Baltimore Ravens (6-6); beat Pittsburgh 22-20, moves up three spots – Like any true champion, the Ravens aren’t going down without a fight. They scraped by with five field goals, and dug in to stop a two-point conversion with 1:03 left.

15. Miami Dolphins (6-6); beat New York Jets 23-3, moves up three spots – You have to give Miami some credit for battling back to .500 with all of the controversy surrounding them. It now appears that they’re in a two-team race with Baltimore for the last AFC Wild Card spot.

adrian-peterson-rushing-record16. Chicago Bears (6-6); lost to Minnesota 23-20 (OT), drops two spots – Chicago blew a golden opportunity to keep pace with the Lions in the NFC North. Their defense once again got gashed by a running back, with Adrian Peterson rushing for 211 yards on 35 carries.

17. San Diego Chargers (5-7); lost to Cincinnati 17-10, drops two spots – After a dramatic 3-point victory at Kansas City last week, San Diego couldn’t keep the magic going at home against the Bengals. The offense was surprisingly ineffective, especially when they crossed the 50-yard-line, and failed to complete drive after drive.

18. Green Bay Packers (5-6-1); lost to Detroit 40-10, drops two spots – Aaron Rodgers may be back this week. But the Pack is also down one and a half games in the NFC North, which is probably too wide of a margin to make up.

19. New York Giants (5-7); beat Washington 24-17, moves up four spots – New York kept their slim postseason hopes alive thanks to four sacks from Justin Tucker. Andre Brown also added two touchdown runs, though he only gained 35 yards on 14 carries.

20. Tennessee Titans (5-7); lost to Indianapolis 22-14, retains same ranking – Although they lost, Tennessee is still just a game out of the AFC Wild Card race, and they hold all of the tiebreakers.

21. New York Jets (5-7); lost to Miami 23-3, drops two spots – New York is just playing terribly on offense right now. At least Rex Ryan finally had the nerve to bench Geno Smith after another awful outing (29PYDS, 1INT). Unfortunately, Matt Simms isn’t much better…

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7); lost to Baltimore 22-20, drops one spot – Not only did Mike Tomlin earn himself a big fine for stepping in the way of a Jacoby Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return, but he also may have costed Pittsburgh a draft pick. Not exactly the best way to build for the future.

zac-stacy23. St. Louis Rams (5-7); lost to San Francisco 23-13, drops one spot – St. Louis fought hard on the road against a superior team. Zac Stacy turned in a tough game against this loaded defense as he rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries. He’s definitely a good building block for the future.

24. Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1); beat Chicago 23-20 (OT), moves up five spots – The teams from here on out are so bad that Minnesota leaps up five spots for grabbing a win against the Bears. Adrian Peterson finally looked like he did in the second half of last season, showing he has more than enough left in the tank.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9); beat Cleveland 32-28, moves up five spots – It’s finally time to consider the Jaguars a legitimate NFL team again. Chad Henne led a late comeback after finding Cecil Shorts in the end zone with 40 seconds remaining.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-8); lost to Jacksonville 32-28, drops two spots – As if it were possible, Cleveland is about to get a lot worse! Now both Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are hurt, leaving the Browns picking at the bottom of the barrel for a healthy QB.

27. Oakland Raiders (4-8); lost to Dallas 31-24, drops two spots – After some ups and downs this season, Oakland is having yet another bad season. Perhaps they’ve found a quarterback for next year in Matt McGloin, though.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9); lost to Carolina 27-6, drops two spots – At this point, it’s very difficult to see Greg Schaino keeping his job. So Tampa Bay will essentially go back to the drawing board this offseason.

29. Atlanta Falcons (3-9); beat Buffalo 34-31 (OT), moves up two spots – Atlanta finally got the type of all-around offensive production they’ve been looking for, with Matt Ryan throwing for 311 yards and 1 TD, and Steven Jackson rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

30. Buffalo Bills (4-8); lost to Atlanta 34-31 (OT), drops three spots – The good news is that CJ Spiller (149RYDS, 1TD) finally looked like the back that Buffalo was expecting this year. The bad news is that it comes when this team’s season has already gone down the drain.

31. Washington Redskins (3-9); lost to New York Giants 24-17, drops three spots – Washington has now been eliminated from the postseason in 17 of the last 21 years. After this season’s disappointment, some wonder if Mike Shanahan will be around in 2014.

32. Houston Texans (2-10); lost to New England 34-31, retains same ranking – Another close call for Houston, another loss. The Texans haven’t won since September 15th and it’s questionable if that will change before 2013 ends.

 

College Football Power Rankings for Oct 24th, 2012

Right now the BCS Rankings are a jumbled mess where a half dozen legitimate title contenders are still undefeated. And there are plenty of other undefeated teams sprinkled throughout the AP Top 25. Of course, chances are that many of these powerhouses will fall by the wayside as we head towards season’s end, but it certainly doesn’t make our job with the power rankings any easier. We’ll give it a try anyways by offering you our take on the top teams.

Also, you can check out the real BCS Rankings below:

1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Kansas State
4. Oregon
5. Notre Dame
6. LSU
7. Oregon State
8. Oklahoma
9. USC
10. Georgia

Week 9 College Football Power Rankings

1. Alabama (7-0) – No surprise here since the Crimson Tide have garnered 59 of a possible 60 first place votes in the AP poll and are atop the NCAA’s toughest football conference. Plus it’s difficult to overlook Alabama’s impressive 32.7-point margin of victory. However, they’ve still yet to face the most difficult part of their schedule – Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M – which combine for a 19-3 record. But even these three shouldn’t stop the Tide on their path towards the BCS title game.

Last Game: 44-13 win over Tennessee
Next Game: vs. Mississippi State (7-0)

2. Oregon (7-0) – Let the annual BCS controversy begin with the Ducks since they are undefeated, yet only fourth in the BCS. However, Oregon will have plenty of chances to improve this standing with future games against USC, Stanford and Oregon State.

Last Game: 43-21 win over Arizona State
Next Game: vs. Colorado (1-6)

3. Florida (7-0) – As it stands now, the computers have Florida facing Alabama in the championship game. And so far, the Gators have done what they need to do to be deserving of this spot. But everything will be put to the test this coming week as Florida squares off against one of their rivals, 10th-ranked Georgia.

Last Game: 44-11 win over South Carolina
Next Game: vs. Georgia (6-1)

4. Kansas State (7-0) – A dominating win last week over West Virginia has moved K-State further up the polls and into serious national title contention. However, things won’t get any easier this week when 9th-ranked Texas Tech comes into town. But assuming the Wildcats can survive the test, they’ll have a clear shot at the Big 12 Championship Game with their toughest games out of the way.

Last Game: 55-14 win over West Virginia
Next Game: vs. Texas Tech

5. Notre Dame (7-0) – Off to their best start in years, Notre Dame has played some excellent football this season. But there are still challenges ahead including a huge road game this week against 6th-ranked Oklahoma. The contest may all come down to how well the Irish’s defensive backs can cover Oklahoma’s speedy receivers.

Last Game: 17-14 win over BYU
Next Game: at Oklahoma (5-1)

6. Oregon State (6-0) – The argument against Oregon State being ranked higher is that they haven’t played anybody significant. However, the Beavers do own victories over some tough teams in Wisconsin and UCLA. Perhaps we will truly see what Oregon State is made of when they face the Ducks later on.

Last Game: 21-7 win over Utah
Next Game: at Washington (3-4)

7. Oklahoma (5-1) – The lone blemish on the Sooners schedule is a close 24-19 loss to Kansas State. Unfortunately in a year where so many teams are unbeaten, this tough loss puts Oklahoma a ways back in the BCS race. But they can jump back into the hunt if they can beat undefeated Notre Dame this Saturday.

Last Game: 52-7 win over Kansas
Next Game: vs. Notre Dame (7-0)

8. LSU (7-1) – Much like Oklahoma, LSU is the victim of an early season loss to a very good team in Florida. But the Tigers have stayed strong and are hoping to climb the BCS ladder. They face the ultimate test against number one-ranked Alabama in a couple of weeks. The Crimson Tide are beating teams by almost 33 points, but at least the Tigers are at home.

Last Game: 24-19 win over Texas A&M
Next Game:  vs. Alabama (Nov. 3rd)

9. Texas Tech (6-1) – The Big 12 is filled with roadblocks, and the Red Raiders hit one of them head-on against Oklahoma (41-20 loss). However, quarterback Seth Doege has been hot in recent wins over West Virginia and TCU. He will no doubt have to stay on fire since Texas Tech has the unenviable task of traveling to Manhattan, Kansas this Saturday.

Last Game: 56-53 (OT) win over TCU
Next Game: at Kansas State (7-0)

10. Ohio State (8-0) – OSU’s overtime win against Purdue wasn’t pretty since it was filled with sloppy mistakes. However, the Buckeyes pulled out the victory and remain unbeaten. Ohio State will have to be much sharper if they want to grab a win in Happy Valley against QB Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lions.

Last Game: 29-22 (OT) win over Purdue
Next Game: at Penn State (5-2)