The Oakland Raiders went from 6-4 and riding a three-game winning streak, to 6-6 in the blink of an eye after two blowout losses in back-to-back weeks.
The egg-lay against the aimless New York Jets in Week 12 was a stunner as Derek Carr
led exactly zero touchdown drives. Again last Sunday, the Raiders were burned by 31 points by the Kansas City Chiefs, which included two Carr interceptions that led 14 points for their rivals.
The Raiders entered the Jets game with a shot at the division title. Three weeks later, they are a longshot to surpass the Chiefs and are barely clinging to remain in playoff contention.
The Raiders' defense has been carved up, but that has been the case much of the season. The biggest issue for Jon Gruden's team the last two weeks, however, was the offense falling apart. Oakland went 147 plays between touchdowns before last week's garbage-time score.
"I've had a rough two weeks," Carr said after practice Wednesday. "We've had a rough two weeks. It's time to get back on track. ...
"You can rewind two weeks ago we were the greatest story in the NFL. Two weeks later we suck again. I think we'll be all right. We're going to keep grinding. We're going to stick to what we do."
With the ever fickle Gruden calling the shots, how Carr closes the season could be a big factor in the Raiders' offseason approach.
On the plus side for Carr and Oakland, the Raiders only face one team with a winning record among their final four games, tomorrow's opponent, the Tennessee Titans.
And what should we expect this weekend?
According to FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere, we should temper those expectations.
Tagliere explained, "Carr has yet to finish better than the QB10 in any given week. When you combine the low volume with lack of mobility, you have yourself a quarterback with a limited floor and ceiling. He essentially needs a matchup against a fast-paced team who puts a lot of points on the board, and one who allows efficiency."
He won't get that tomorrow.
The Titans are tied for the second-fewest plays per game, rank 15th in points per game
, and they haven’t allowed much efficiency through the air, as they’ve allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points per pass attempt. All of this prompted Tagliere to advise his readers that Carr is "nothing more than a low-end QB2 this week."
Beyond that, ESPN's Mike Clay notes the touchdowns have disappeared for Tyrell Williams
and with them have gone any trace of fantasy relevance. Williams scored exactly one touchdown in five consecutive games to open the season, but the veteran receiver was skating on thin ice with only 6.0 targets per game during the span.
Touchdown regression to the mean has caught up with him as of late, as Williams has gone five consecutive games without a score.
Williams hasn't cleared six targets in a game and has gone over 48 yards once during the span. That includes a season-worst 1-9-0 receiving line on four targets in Kansas City on Sunday.
Clay added, "Williams is best left on benches, but he does have a good matchup against the Titans this week."
Meanwhile, the Raiders will be shorthanded on offense against the Titans.
Just how shorthanded they’ll be is a question that won’t be answered until closer to kickoff in Oakland. Right tackle Trent Brown has been ruled out for the game and they’re set to make a game-time decision on running back Josh Jacobs
after listing him as questionable
Jacobs has been on the injury report in recent weeks because of a shoulder injury and Jacobs said this week that he fractured it. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and Gruden said he didn’t do much work on Friday.
and DeAndre Washington
are the other backs for the Raiders. I'll follow up on Jacobs' status as developments warrant right up through Sunday's late-afternoon kickoff.
Brown is out with a pectoral injury. He’s also dealt with a knee injury in recent weeks. Brandon Parker will start in his place.