It has been a tumultuous season for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022t.
After a 13-10 Christmas Eve loss led by quarterback Derek Carr throwing three interceptions, Las Vegas is preparing to host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. But the team will be without its starting play caller this week.
Head coach Josh McDaniels announced on Wednesday that backup Jarett Stidham will make the start, and the Carr era as the starting QB will have an unceremonious end on Sunday. In addition to Carr’s absence, the Raiders (6-9) placed defensive end Chandler Jones, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and linebacker Denzel Perryman on injured reserves.
The 49ers (11-4) — who have the NFL’s longest winningest streak at eight games — come into this matchup having clinched the NFC West Division and look to improve their No. 3 seeding before the playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.
With that in mind, here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s clash between two teams heading in very different directions to finish out 2022.
Jarrett Stidham will throw for more than 275 yards
In Stidham’s first NFL start, he is tasked with going up against the top defense in the league. The 49ers’ defense has allowed two quarterbacks to throw for more than 280 yards. That came in Week 7 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in their most recent loss, all the way back in October, and in Week 13 when Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa threw for 295 yards.
Despite making his inaugural NFL start, the 26-year-old looks to be keeping things simple and not overthinking this major moment in his career.
“At the end of the day, my job is to facilitate the offense. I’ve got to follow my rules and try to get the ball in these guys’ hands and do my job. That’s something I’ve been trying to prepare hard for and that’s all I can do.”– Jarret Stidham
One of the benefits for Stidham is he will have the Raiders’ top offensive weapons in wide receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs all available on Sunday.
Josh Jacobs powers through 49ers defense for another big game
The Raiders have to get back to its identity of running the football to have a positive momentum heading into the offseason with the NFL’s leading rusher Josh Jacobs.
Although the 49ers allow 75 rushing yards per game, the best mark in the NFL, Jacobs has proven to break apart defenses. In the games where Jacobs has had at least 20 carries this season, the Raiders are 6-3 as he found ways to rack up yards and move the chains. Jacobs, who leads the league with 1,908 yards, also has a league-leading 100 first downs.
In addition, the 24-year-old’s career can take another step further on Sunday as he needs 221 rushing yards to surpass Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen for the most yards for a single season in franchise history.
Expect Jacobs and the running backs will figure out the 49ers’ run defense for a big day in front of Raider Nation.
Clelin Ferrell will step up in a big way for Las Vegas Raiders
At the beginning of the season, Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell was one of three players to not have their fifth-year option exercised. However, that has not stopped Ferrell from producing when he is asked, especially last week when Jones left with an injured elbow.
Ferrell, who was the fourth overall pick by the Silver and Black in 2019, enters this matchup with the opportunity to make his third start of the year as the entire defensive line will be going up against one of the top offensive lines in the NFL.
In addition, Ferrell and the defense will be going up against running back Christian McCaffrey and the possibility of seeing handoffs to wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who
However, with the 49ers keeping their focus on Maxx Crosby — who needs one tackle for loss to become the second Raider defensive lineman with 20 in a single season since 2000 — it will leave Ferrell in one-on-one matchups to put him in a position to produce behind the line of scrimmage.