Oakland Raiders 'running out of time' to save season

The Oakland Raiders couldn't stack wins together, falling to Buffalo on Sunday, their fifth loss in six games.

Starting with Sunday's tilt versus the similarly struggling Miami Dolphins, the 3-5 Raiders know they need to hit a hot streak in order to save what has been one of the most disappointing seasons in the NFL from completely being flushed down the toilet.

"We have to get back to winning, just being us and playing fast," safety Reggie Nelson said, via NBC Bay Area. "(Coach) Jack (Del Rio) has high expectations for us, and they should be high. We have a lot of work to do. That's what we plan on doing in an attempt to turn this thing around. It's no secret that we're running out of time."

The Raiders have struggled on both sides of the ball this season. While the defense continues to be a sieve on the back end, the offense has been particularly disappointing. A unit that was supposed to help mask some of the defensive deficiencies has fallen flat.

Compared to 2016, the Raiders are earning 4.9 fewer points per game and 55.5 fewer yards per game, including a 32.1 fewer rushing yards per game. Oakland went from a top 10 offense in points, yards, and rushing yards last year, to a bottom-half ranking in each category in 2017 (19th in points, 20th in yards, and 26th rushing yards).

The offense's lack of balance and lack of explosive plays leap out on film and the stat sheet. It feels like Oakland's O is playing within a 12-yard box.

The Raiders are running the ball on just 35.9 percent of plays, the sixth lowest rate in the NFL. With Marshawn Lynch's struggles and the lack of holes from a highly paid offensive line, it's not a huge surprise offensive coordinator Todd Downing has put the ball in Derek Carr's hands. The big plays the QB enjoyed last year, however, have fizzled. Carr currently owns a 51.6 passer rating on throws of 21-plus air yards, 28th in the NFL, per NFL Research -- Carr had a 117.8 passer rating on such passes in 2016.

With eight games remaining, including tilts with the Patriots, Chiefs, Broncos, Eagles and Cowboys, the task of turning the season around won't be easy. Players know they are running out of time.

"If you just look at the numbers, you pretty much have to get 10 wins to get into the playoffs, sometimes more than that," receiver Amari Cooper said. "So, where we're sitting at now, we can only possibly get 11, so of course we're going to have to stack up these wins."

If Oakland doesn't pull off a miracle turnaround, it will be one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory given their seemingly legitimate Super Bowl aspirations heading into the season.

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