Quarterback Matt Flynn will get his first start as a Raider on Sunday as Oakland welcomes the woeful Washington Redskins to O.co Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Originally Terrelle Pryor was supposed to start despite a concussion he suffered last week in the 37-21 loss to Denver. Oakland is reportedly being more cautious after the player’s union looked into how the team was handling Pryor’s condition. Pryor leads the team in rushing and passing, and was poised for a breakout year.
Flynn, much more of a pass-first quarterback than Pryor, was traded to the Raiders in the offseason after losing his job to Russell Wilson in Seattle. However he proved more than effective as Aaron Rodgers back up in Green Bay, including his six touchdown game back in 2011.
The Washington defense might be the best opponent for Flynn to make his first start. The winless Redskins are ranked 31st against the pass and rush, and 31st in points against at a 32.7 clip.
Against Detroit last week, the Redskins fell 27-20 as quarterback Robert Griffin III posted 326 yards passing with no scores. Running back Alfred Morris totaled 73 yards and a touchdown, but Washington is far from the team that led the NFL in rushing last season, ranking 20th overall.
Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss have been Griffin’s main targets, but neither could reach the end zone despite 15 combined catches and 150 total yards versus the Lions.
Joining Flynn in the backfield is running back Darren McFadden, who’s average 3.9 yards per carry, with receivers Denarius Moore and Rod Streater trying to make plays downfield.
The Raider defense is ranked 16th and 17th against the pass and rush, respectively, but the one area they must especially work on is third down conversion. Oakland is last in the league with opponents converting 18 of their 36 attempts on the pivotal down.
The game starts at 4:25 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by FOX, or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: Washington is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 44 points
Prediction: Oakland 24, Washington 20