Do this list four days ago, and the Raiders are top 10, maybe even top five. But Derek Carr, who broke his ankle just before the end of the 2016 season, is out with a back injury, and the whole Raider thing gets called into question once again. EJ Manuel steps into the breach, and he’s probably two interceptions away from igniting a firestorm of Colin Kaepernick speculation. The Raiders’ confidence in their quarterback situation is directly tied to Carr’s health, and right now Carr is not healthy. If he’s back in two weeks, they shoot back up the list. If he takes five or six, it could be too late for him to save them in the rough-and-tumble AFC West.
The neophyte duo has been impressive early in the season, but a slew of rough defenses awaits, starting with Seattle, which has allowed the fifth-lowest raw QBR to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Goff has been able to hold on to the ball longer than most this season, averaging 2.71 seconds before his pass attempts, fifth best in the league. While that might make him susceptible to problems against some defenses, so far the Seahawks are only pressuring the quarterback on 21.9 percent of plays (fourth worst in the NFL) and allowing opposing QBs 2.58 seconds before passing (eighth longest in the NFL).
In fact, if there’s a line of scrimmage mismatch in this game, it’s the Rams’ defense against Seattle’s offense. Los Angeles is generating pressure on 33.3 percent of opponents’ dropbacks, second best in the league, while Seattle has allowed pressure on 31.5 percent of its dropbacks, fourth most in the league. Russell Wilson might want to start scrambling now.