Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
The 0-2 Oakland Raiders are desperate for a win.
Super Bowl-champion head coach Jon Gruden, who spent the past nine years in the broadcast booth, is off to an awful start that goes beyond the win-loss record and includes the trade that sent away one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players, Khalil Mack.
The 2-0 Miami Dolphins are supremely confident.
They beat the Tennessee Titans in Miami's home opener. The Dolphins followed that by going on the road and knocking off the New York Jets.
Those wins were mitigated, in a sense, by the quarterbacks they faced. The Titans' chances of winning decreased when Marcus Mariota left the Miami game due to injury. And the win over the Jets happened against rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who is talented but raw.
This week, the Dolphins will be challenged by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who went 12-3 during his breakout 2016 season but struggled with a 6-9 record last year.
Last Sunday, he was nearly flawless. He completed 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in a 20-19 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, who led his team to the game-winning field goal with six seconds left, seemed in awe of Carr.
"I never saw the ball hit the ground when he was out there," Keenum said. "That's unbelievable to play quarterback like that."
Meanwhile, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who entered this season having missed Miami's previous 20 games due to a knee injury, is off to a great start from a team aspect.
While his stats are not gaudy, Tannehill has Miami on the verge of its first 3-0 start since 2013. Miami is 9-1 in Tannehill's past 10 starts.
SERIES HISTORY: 35th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series, 17-16-1 and the Raiders have a 3-1 series advantage in the playoffs. The Raiders won the most recent meeting, beating the Dolphins 27-24 last year in Miami. That was their only matchup over the past three seasons.