TOP STORIES

NFL

DAL
-4
NO
+4
FRI 12/03 01:20 AM
IND
-8.5
HOU
+8.5
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
MIN
-7
DET
+7
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
NY
+3
MIA
-3
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
LA
+3
CIN
-3
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
TB
-11
ATL
+11
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
ARI
-7.5
CHI
+7.5
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
PHI
-6.5
NY
+6.5
SUN 12/05 06:00 PM
WAS
+3
LV
-3
SUN 12/05 09:05 PM
SF
-4
SEA
+4
SUN 12/05 09:25 PM
BAL
-3
PIT
+3
SUN 12/05 09:25 PM
JAX
+12.5
LA
-12.5
SUN 12/05 09:25 PM
DEN
+10
KC
-10
MON 12/06 01:15 AM
NE
+2.5
BUF
-2.5
TUE 12/07 01:15 AM

NCAA

WEST
-1
UTSA
+1
SAT 12/04 12:00 AM
OREG
+3
UTAH
-3
SAT 12/04 01:00 AM
KENT
-2.5
NORT
+2.5
SAT 12/04 05:00 PM
BAYL
+5
OKLA
-5
SAT 12/04 05:00 PM
UTAH
+5
SAN
-5
SAT 12/04 08:00 PM
APPA
-2.5
LOUI
+2.5
SAT 12/04 08:35 PM
GEOR
-6.5
ALAB
+6.5
SAT 12/04 09:00 PM
HOUS
+10.5
CINC
-10.5
SAT 12/04 09:00 PM
WAKE
+3
PITT
-3
SUN 12/05 01:00 AM
IOWA
+10.5
MICH
-10.5
SUN 12/05 01:00 AM
USC
+4
CALI
-4
SUN 12/05 04:00 AM

Can Raiders Overcome Ruggs Distraction?

By Steve Carp

It has been a crazy year, even by Raiders standards. You’ve had a front office shuffle, a coaching change, and now, the release of a top wide receiver following a deadly car crash.

So it begs the question: “Will the Raiders be able to focus on football in the wake of the Henry Ruggs DUI crash incident that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old las Vegas woman earlier this week?

I think they’ll find a way to close ranks and get the job done Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the struggling New York Giants. The Raiders are 3- to 3.5-point favorites, depending where you shop.

The team’s players and coaches said all the right things in the wake of the incident that resulted in Ruggs being released by the team shortly after he was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. But they also have had time to work through any emotional processes and I expect they’ll be focused enough.

I like the way this team has responded to interim head coach Rich Bisacca and the play calling of offensive coordinator Greg Olson. They are getting more people involved in the offense and Derek Carr has been on point, using all the tools available to him and it is allowing guys like running back Kenyan Drake and wide receiver Zay Jones to take a more active part in the offense.

The defense continues to evolve and the way defensive end Maxx Crosby is playing, I expect Giants QB Daniel Jones will be uncomfortable much of the day.

 I always worry about penalties when it comes to the Raiders and if they can avoid those untimely pass interference calls, roughing the passer penalties and false starts and holding calls on offense, they’ll be in good shape.

Here’s what I really like: the team is playing away from Allegiant Stadium this week. Nothing like a long road trip to help close ranks and focus on football.

But history tells us this team that hitting the road isn’t always a good thing when it comes to beating bad teams.

Two years ago, the Raiders took a 6-4 record into the Meadowlands and got drilled by the hapless Jets, 34-3. Last year, the Raiders went to Atlanta 6-4 and got buried 43-6 by the Falcons. Both losses contributed to the team missing the playoffs.

However, a major caveat here: Jon Gruden was the head coach in both of those situations. He will be nowhere near the sidelines on Sunday. Bisacca will have his guys ready.

The Giants, who are 2-6, remain a giant mess. And playing at home for them right now is not a plus. The boo-birds have been loud with their discontent and I expect a large amount of Raider Nation will be in the stands. They’re banged up on offense and if you think the Raiders’ offensive line has its issues, you should see what Big Blue is trotting out there. Couple that with Jones’ inconsistent QB play and it’s there for the Raiders’ taking.

I’m sure Giants running back Devontae Booker would love to stick it to his former team. But with a line unable to create openings for him to run through, that might be a tough task. And if Jones is going to be forced to throw and make himself predictable, it makes the task even tougher for the G-Men.

Oh, one more thing. Tight end Darren Waller, who is Carr’s favorite target, is expected to play after sitting out two weeks ago. The raiders are coming off a bye week and they’ve had the chance to heal up physically. Playing Sunday without Ruggs goes them a chance to heal emotionally. I anticipate a big effort from the Silver and Black and a happy ride back to Las Vegas Sunday evening.