ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Of the many things that must fall their way in order for the Oakland Raiders to get into the playoffs, Derek Carr snapping his cold-weather drought is one of the most significant.
Carr is winless in his past nine games when the temperature at kickoff is below 50 degrees, including earlier this season when the Raiders were thumped in back-to-back games at the Jets and Kansas City.
Oakland is expected to face similar weather Sunday in Denver where the temperature is projected to top out at 44 degrees. The Raiders must win that game or else none of the other scenarios revolving around their playoff hopes matter.
While the numbers suggest otherwise, offensive coordinator Greg Olson downplayed the theory that Carr can’t win in the cold.
“I believe it’s a talking point,” Olson said Tuesday after the Raiders held a walk-through practice on the players’ normal day off. “I know that the cold weather doesn’t affect Derek Carr. We practice in cold weather, he practices without sleeves, he throws the ball very well. He makes appropriate checks when in practice.
“I know the quarterbacks, generally, they’re always evaluated on wins and losses. No matter what kind of weather it is, they’re always going to be judged on records. We don’t read too much into it.”
Carr won the first two cold-weather games of his career. Both came in 2015 when he beat Denver on the road then led the Raiders past the Chargers on a Christmas Eve game in Oakland where the temperature was 47 degrees.
Since then Carr has been ice cold in such games. Entering Sunday’s game at Mile High Stadium, Carr has a passer rating of 65.9 in cold weather and 94.7 when temperatures are 50 and above.
Carr admitted that the narrative of his inability to win in the cold used to bother him. Now he sees it much like Olson.
“It used to, but to be honest this is a team game,” Carr said. “We are all out there, we’re all dealing with it, both teams. Just trying to win a game. It doesn’t bother me one bit. The weather doesn’t bother me, we just haven’t won. So, hopefully it will be just above 40 degrees (Sunday) and we’ll be good.”
Carr should be helped by having Hunter Renfrow back in the lineup against the Broncos. The Raiders rookie wide receiver missed two games with a rib injury then came back and had seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in Oakland’s win last week against the Chargers.
As for the rest of the scenarios that have to play out for the Raiders to get into the playoffs, Carr said it’s all irrelevant if Oakland loses in Denver.
“If we don’t win, nothing matters,” Carr said. “We just have to make sure we take care of business.”
Notes: Running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) participated in the walk-through but his status for Sunday remains uncertain. … The Raiders claimed defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers. Cornerback Nick Nelson was placed on injured reserve to make room.
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