Raiders hoping to cool down red hot Washington Football Team

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  • Seattle Seahawks
    Seattle Seahawks
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  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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  • Washington Football Team
    Washington Football Team
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At the midseason point, the Washington Football Team went on their bye week sitting at 2-6 on the season. Something happened over that bye week because they haven’t lost since.

Over the past three weeks, Washington has gone 3-0 and has fought their way into the thick of the playoff chase. Their first win over the past three games was a stunner over the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And they have beaten the Panthers and Seahawks over the past two weeks.

Over the first eight games, they were averaging 19.5 points per game while allowing over 28 points per game. In their last three games, they’ve scored an average of over 24 points per game while giving up an average of just over 18 points per game.

“I give them credit,” said Raider defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. “They went through some adversity right away and they just stayed the course, and they had some injuries. But you can see that they are just getting better and better each week, and that’s really the key for all teams at this time of the year. Can you continually get better? And it feels like they are hitting their stride. They kind of have an idea of what their team is, and their offense is, and how it’s going to work. They are just working really well together right now. I don’t know if they are sneaky anymore.”

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke has shown improved play of late, jumping from an 84.3 passer rating over the first eight games to 112.8 over the past three. His top receiver is Terry McLaurin with 786 yards and five touchdowns on the season.

The improved play really shows up in the run game, with RB Antonio Gibson coming off his three best games of the season. He scored two touchdowns against the Bucs before putting up a season-high 95 yards against the Panthers, and another season-high with 111 yards against the Seahawks.

As for the improvement on defense, one player who has played better of late is CB Kendall Fuller, including locking up Seahawks Pro Bowl WR DK Metcalf last week. Metcalf had just one catch in the game while Fuller put up a season-high three pass breakups and picked off Russell Wilson on their two-point conversion attempt to seal the win.

Fellow cornerback William Jackson has also played well coming back from an injury after the bye.

What’s interesting is they’ve done it without their top two edge rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young. Sweat has missed the past three weeks with a broken jaw and Young was lost two weeks ago with a torn ACL.

Their sack leader is DT Johnathan Allen (six) but while he has still played well, his numbers have gone down over the past three weeks with no sacks and just three QB hits.

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working on both sides of the ball. And the Raiders better be prepared to face one of the hottest teams in the league.

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