1. Here we go again. Two years ago, when the Bills had a legitimate shot at the playoffs into December, their season went off the rails with a bad loss in Oakland. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw a late touchdown to lead the 2-12 Raiders past the Bills, 26-24, eliminating them from the postseason. Next Sunday will be another big trip to Oakland for the Bills, who, at 6-5, may need to win out to qualify for the postseason. This yearu2019s game will be much more difficult against a Raiders team that leads the AFC West at 9-2. Itu2019s also the third West Coast trip of the season for the Bills, who won in Los Angeles and lost in Seattle.
James P. McCoy/Buffalo News
2. Carr shifts to turbo. Derek Carr was the fourth quarterback selected in the 2014 draft, but heu2019s quickly proving to be the best of the bunch. Carr entered Week 12 as one of only seven passers with a quarterback rating above 100 and ranked in the top 10 in completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns. The Raiders are certainly comfortable putting the ball in his hands (he had the eighth-most attempts of any QB), and theyu2019ve surged from worst to first in the division during his tenure. He suffered a finger injury to his throwing hand during Sundayu2019s 35-32 win over the Panthers, but was able to return to the game. He poses a big problem for a Bills secondary thatu2019s been plagued with injuries.
3. Speaking of the secondary u2026 Theyu2019ll have their hands full with Raiders receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who were both top-10 draft picks. Cooper is well on his way to passing last seasonu2019s mark of 1,070 yards (which only one Bills player has topped in the last decade) while Crabtree ranked 35th in yards and 26th in receptions. Both possess enough speed and size to give Bills defensive backs trouble. Cooper and Carr even have a great nickname, with a line of u201cAC/DCu201d merchandise commemorating their connection.
4. Waddup, Khalil. Sundayu2019s game will give Western New Yorkers another chance to watch Khalil Mack, who starred at UB before becoming the fifth overall pick of the 2014 draft. Mack has flourished in Oakland, becoming the first player in NFL history to be voted first-team All-Pro at two positions in the same season, outside linebacker and defensive end. He logged eight sacks through his first 10 games this season and returned an interception for a touchdown Sunday night. Heu2019s a force the Bills absolutely must account for on the Raidersu2019 defense.
5. The Vegas Raiders? The Vegas Golden Knights NHL team will be the first major professional sports franchise in Las Vegas, and the Raiders may soon be the second. Owner Mark Davis lost out on a move to Los Angeles last offseason but now seems intent on moving the Raiders to Vegas, reportedly telling fellow owners last month that he plans to file paperwork with the league after the season to relocate there. u201cOakland was in the driveru2019s seat if they couldu2019ve put together anything,u201d Davis told ESPN at the NFLu2019s fall meetings. u201cThey came up with nothing.u201d