Raiders

Madden 20 ratings: Which Raiders players are overrated, underrated

Madden 20 ratings: Which Raiders players are overrated, underrated

The Oakland Raiders were pretty awful in 2018, and the folks over at EA Sports apparently weren't asleep at the wheel.

The video game conglomerate recently released the rankings for every player in "Madden NFL 20," and the Raiders don't look great.

Three of the Raiders' five highest-rated players are new additions, with wide receiver Antonio Brown checking in at 98 overall as Oakland's highest-rated player. Center Rodney Hudson (93), safety Lamarcus Joyner (85), wide receiver Tyrell Williams (83) and quarterback Derek Carr (80) round out the top five.

As a team, the Raiders netted an overall team rating of 80, tied with the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at which members of the Silver and Black are overrated and which are underrated in the popular game. Why, you might ask? Because it's July. 

Underrated

Antonio Brown, WR (98): No, this isn't a joke. Yes, Brown is a 98 overall and is the second-highest rated receiver in the game behind the Houston Texans' Deandre Hopkins (99). Therein lies the gripe. Brown, for all his locker-room warts in Pittsburgh, has been the best receiver in the game over the last five seasons and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He should have been a no-doubt member of the 99 Club along with Hopkins.

Johnathan Abram, Safety (69): While the Mississippi State product received nice rating, a first-round pick of Abram's quality deserved a little higher of a nod. Rookies in the secondary often struggle initially, but Abram has impressed early on in camp, and he likely will earn a starting spot alongside Karl Joseph (78 rating). I expect him to be one of the more impressive rookies this season.

Trent Brown, OT (78): If one of the Raiders' biggest offseason acquisitions only performs at a C-plus level, the Silver and Black will be in trouble. Brown had a decent year with the New England Patriots last season, but really came on in the playoffs, ranking second among the 24 offensive tackles who played at least 50 snaps by grabbing a 79.9 grade, per Pro Football Focus. If Brown performs at that level with the Raiders, his rating should improve as the updates trickle out.

Properly Rated

Derek Carr, QB (80): Carr might end up having a better year than his initial rating suggests, but based on his performance last season this seems like a fair place to put the Raiders' signal-caller. If there is a gripe, though, it's with some of the quarterbacks who are ranked ahead of or alongside him. Andy Dalton (80), Dak Prescott (81), Kirk Cousins (81) and Jared Goff (83) all are rated the same or higher than Carr. While Goff had a great 2018, it's hard to say he's a better overall quarterback than Carr, and with the offensive weapons the Raiders brought in during the offseason, Carr should enjoy a much better statistical season than he did a year ago.

Clelin Ferrell, DE (74): The No. 4 overall pick gets the "reach" rating, accumulating a ranking much lower than normally associated with his draft position. The Clemson product had a productive college career, but he'll have to prove he's an every-down edge rusher in order to rise to meet the rest of the rookie class edge rushers (Josh Allen (77), Nick Bosa (78) and Ed Oliver (79)).

[RELATED: Biggest question facing each AFC West team]

Overrated

Doug Martin, RB (78): After rushing for just 723 yards and four scores last season for the Raiders, this is way too high for a running back who is transitioning from muscle hamster to mentor in the twilight of his career. Expect rookie running back Josh Jacobs (74) to get the lion's share of the carries this season while Martin helps him adjust to life in the NFL. Mentor rating: 99. Actual running back rating: somewhere in the low 70s.

Richie Incognito, LG (76): He didn't play last season and will miss the first two games. He probably deserves to be rated in the low 70s until he proves he still can be a valuable NFL offensive lineman.

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

The Raiders set out to get faster on defense. That mission was accomplished in every sense.

That’s true by traditional measures, as the Raiders hope their raw speed can keep up with the track stars Kansas City trots out on offense Sunday afternoons.

It’s also true in terms of reading and diagnosing plays. The Raiders installed a faster multi-core processor this offseason, plugging Vontaze Burfict into a defensive network that now runs at warp speed.

Burfict has mastered Paul Guenther’s scheme and knows exactly how to adjust and re-align to best defend a particular offensive play. Burfict is confident in his reads, efficient and clear when dispensing pre-snap information. Being in the right spot, able to anticipate what’s coming, allowing the defense to play faster.

Burfict as Guenther’s field general has been a storyline since the veteran joined the Raiders in March, and his scheme knowledge assisted returners and newcomers alike during the preseason.

That was clear when operating at game speed. Burfict orchestrated the defense well in a Monday night victory over Denver, making individuals better while helping the defense play as a cohesive unit.

“It was awesome,” defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “He knows the system inside and out, so he’s able to make checks pretty quickly. He always seems to know what’s coming and gets us aligned fast, so we can just play ball.”

The Raiders must play mentally and physically fast against Kansas City, armed with speed and an offense that will attack using both latitude and longitude.

“They make you defend every inch of grass,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “Laterally with the jet sweeps, you got to defend them sideline to sideline. They can outrun you, outflank you and vertically they can run right by you over the top.”

There’s a buzz word that describes the key to defending this high-powered attack.

“Eye discipline,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “[Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid] will try to mess with a defense, to shift people around the formation and put you in a bad spot. They will do all types of things to play with your eyes and make you think you’re seeing one thing when it’s something else. You have to trust your preparation and make the right checks.”

That’s where Burfict comes in, and why he’s so key to the Raiders’ defensive effort on Sunday.

“He obviously knows the system, but Vontaze is very intelligent,” Morrow said. “He processes information quickly and is confident in what he’s doing. That’s what you want from somebody in his position.”

Burfict is the defense’s cerebral cortex, but he isn’t just directing troops while watching them work.

He plays with trademark intensity and didn’t step over the line in his Raiders debut. That’s key moving forward, because the Raiders need him on the field to succeed against Kansas City, a team that doesn’t need freebies to score.

“He’s really fun to play with,” Hurst said. “He’s an aggressive player. He’s going to come downhill and hit everything that moves. It’s awesome playing with someone like that.”

[RELATED: Raiders vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL Week 2 game online]

Burfict fought through some knicks in the opener but didn’t miss a practice snap all week. It’s important for him to stay upright and available, because they need his presence and football smarts on all three downs.

“Those of us returning for a second year with Paul [Guenther] feel pretty fluent in the system,” cornerback Daryl Worley said. “But having a leader like Vontaze in complete command is definitely helpful.”

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

An undefeated record is on the line.

It may only be Week 2 but after the Raiders and Chiefs earned victories to open the season, both will look to keep the momentum rolling in Oakland on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs are favored by a touchdown and likely would get a few additional points if the game were being played at Arrowhead Stadium.

[RELATED: NFL rumors: Raiders' Johnathan Abram fined for hit causing shoulder injury]

Line:

Caesars: KC -7 (-110)
Consensus: KC -7 (-110)
Westgate: KC -7 (-110)
Wynn: KC -7 (-110)

Here’s how NFL writers around the country see the matchup shaking out:

Paul Gutierrez, ESPN: Chiefs 38, Raiders 30
Adam Teicher, ESPN: Chiefs 37, Raiders 31
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Chiefs 30, Raiders 26
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 30, Raiders 17
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 35, Raiders 21
Tadd Haislop, SportingNews: Chiefs 34, Raiders 20
Greg Patuto, Heavy.com: Chiefs 37, Raiders 21