Derek Carr vs Russell Wilson: who has the edge?

Derek Carr vs Russell Wilson: who will win?

By: Brody Wells

Week Four will see an NFL rivalry renewed as the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders will square off in Las Vegas, with both new-look teams coming into the game in a different place. After a sluggish start for the Broncos in Seattle Week One, the team has managed to put together a 2-1 record at this point, even with their offense not entirely in sync. As for the Raiders, the wildly unpopular Josh McDaniels and his squad are in desperate need of a win, as they come into the game with an 0-3 record.

History shows that teams that start 0-3 face extremely difficult odds of making the postseason, and for the Raiders’ sake, they’d better not start 0-4. Derek Carr has struggled to get Davante Adams acclimated with the offense so far. But that doesn’t mean Russell Wilson has been much better. The Broncos may be 2-1, but they’ve had to struggle for everything they’ve gotten in this early portion of the season. Wilson and head coach Nathaniel Hackett have yet to find much rhythm together.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr has no shortage of offensive weapons around him, making their 0-3 start all the more peculiar. Davante Adams is the best wide receiver in the NFL, Darren Waller is one of the league’s best tight ends, and Hunter Renfrow is a solid receiving option as well. Faces in new places do take time to grow accustomed to new situations and roles, so logically 0-3 isn’t that big of a deal. But in terms of a single season, it’s pretty troubling.

Adams had a great first game against the Los Angeles Chargers, hauling in ten receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. He also had a touchdown in the Raiders’ second and third games of the season but going for far less yardage in each effort (12 in Week Two, 36 in Week Three). There’s nothing for him to do but stay patient as the rest of the offense works it out. Eventually, his presence alone is going to be enough to open up the offense to a wide variety of play calling options.

Waller had a solid first two games before hauling in just three receptions for 22 yards in Week Three against the Tennessee Titans. Sooner or later, you’d figure he’ll find his way to more receptions with all the added attention defenses will give to Adams. The Broncos have done well against opposing receiving options this season so far, but they haven’t played a team with this kind of aerial threat the Raiders possess. Waller could be due for his.

Renfrow is questionable coming off a concussion and didn’t practice with the team on Wednesday. After being a non-factor in the first game, he had 59 receiving yards in the second but also fumbled the ball in overtime so the Arizona Cardinals could get their first win of the season. Whether or not he plays will have an obvious impact on the versatility of the Raiders’ passing game.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson has had difficulty adjusting to the look of his new offense in Denver, having thrown for just two touchdowns in the first three games. This has surprised many people, but it shouldn’t be that surprising. Players can struggle in new situations and that goes for great quarterbacks as well. Given this, 2-1 is a decent place to be in. As the Broncos find a reeling Raiders team, the time may be ripe for Wilson to have a big game.

Jerry Jeudy had a great first game against the Seattle Seahawks in a losing effort, having 102 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was a non-factor in games two and three. But if the Broncos want to make their way past their winless opponent, they’re going to want to make sure they have their offense running on all cylinders. It would be a good week for the Broncos’ play callers to find Jeudy some consistency in the offense.

Courtland Sutton has hauled in a lot of yards in the first three games of the season, but he has yet to bring in any touchdowns. Chalk this up to the overall lack of rhythm the Broncos’ offense has showcased so far. He’s definitely been Wilson’s favorite target so far and figures to continue being so. The Raiders have been very bad on defense through three games, so the Wilson-Sutton connection could be poised for a massive game.

Javonte Williams has caught 15 passes through the first three games and is a big part of the Broncos’ passing offense. He figures to be the focal point of their offensive game plan against the Raiders because of his versatility and their struggles with both the run and the pass. His ability to do both in this game will put the offense in a situation where Wilson can be comfortable doing what he always does best.

Verdict:

The Raiders and the Broncos are both teams that have struggled offensively out the gate, the Broncos just have more to show for it at this point. The Raiders, if they hope to salvage their season, will need to enter this game with a real sense of urgency. Because of that, they’re going to find a way to use the advantages they have in this game to real effect. The Broncos have had real strength in the secondary so far, Davante Adams will find a way to get his catches in this game.

The Broncos will continue to make the necessary transitions in their offense, but it’s difficult to imagine this Raiders team really starting 0-4 with all their pieces. Derek Carr has the kind of weaponry on offense a quarterback could only dream of and he’ll find a way to make everything click against a Broncos team that, while 2-1, is still largely without an identity and with a quarterback and head coach who clearly aren’t on the same page.

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