By Shawn Lealos
The Oakland Raiders head into a very important game with their division rival Denver Broncos this week. While the Raiders are coming off a huge loss to the New England Patriots in Mexico last week and have a losing record (4-6), they are still only two games out of first place in the AFC West and are still in the Wild Card race in an AFC that has only five teams above .500.
A huge test is the Broncos, a team that beat Oakland in Week 4 but is on a six-game losing streak. If the Raiders can gain some revenge against the Broncos this week, they can stay in the playoff race as the season roars to its conclusion. Here is a look at the Raiders injury report heading into this big Week 12 divisional matchup.
David Amerson Still Hobbled
Last week before the Mexico City game, the Raiders placed one cornerback on Injured Reserve and cut another. While it looked like David Amerson would return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a foot injury, he ended up not playing. Last week, Amerson was running and looked ready to return, but something happened since that time and he sat out practice this entire week. Now, after the Raiders called him questionable last week, they ruled him completely out this week. As a result, Gareon Conley will start on the left side with T.J. Carrie and Sean Smith getting playing time as well against the Broncos.
Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin Ready To Go
There is a new defensive coordinator in town after the Oakland Raiders fired Ken Norton Jr. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are the two leaders on defense and neither seemed too happy about their coordinator getting fired. Both men got a day off from practice as well this week. That is tough, since the linebackers corps was shaken up with the injury to Cory James two weeks ago. However, James played against the Patriots and finished with seven tackles, so he should be good to go despite his questionable distinction. While Mack and Irvin showed anger at Norton’s termination, head coach Jack Del Rio said that they just received veterans rest and will be ready to go against Denver.
Wide Receiver Injuries
The Oakland Raiders could find the NFL investigating their injury protocol. Backup wide receiver Johnny Holton left the game against the New England Patriots with concussion concerns. After going through the concussion protocol, Horton returned to the game. Interestingly, Horton is listed as questionable this week due to a concussion. According to Del Rio, the injury against the Patriots was not concussion related and was an eye scratch. However, he ended up in the concussion protocol after the game and the coach said that he will likely be cleared in time for the Denver game.
The second receiver on the injury report is Cordarrelle Patterson. While never a huge part of the passing game, Patterson had the best game of the season with four receptions for 45 yards against the Patriots. Patterson did not practice at all on Friday after remaining limited the rest of the week. As a result, there is no telling if he will play and this will hurt Oakland on special teams. Patterson has 13 kick returns this season for 401 yards and losing him is a huge blow to Oakland. The team might also need deep threats if Holton misses the game and Patterson could have helped there as well. If Patterson misses the game, Jalen Richard might step up and return kicks.
Oakland Raiders Injury Report
- Johnny Horton (WR) – concussion, limited
- Gabe Jackson (G) – ankle, limited
- Cory James (LB) – knee, limited
- Cordarrelle Patterson (WR) – hip, did not participate
- (CB) – foot, did not participate