The Oakland Raiders enter Sunday’s contest against the San Francisco 49ers looking to make up ground in the AFC West, as well as get back to .500. Coming off an emotional win against AFC West Division Rival, the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders are looking to ride that high and take care their winless Bay Area Rival 49ers. Lets not get ahead of ourselves, the 49ers are a solid squad that has been very unfortunate. They have been in all of their ball games late into the 4th quarter, but victories seem to elude them. Good teams, not impostors win games like this easily, so the Raiders must take care of the basics to take care of business at Candlestick Park.
Discipline is the first priority of the Raiders come Sunday. You see it to many times, you let a team like the 49ers hang around due to costly penalties that takes potential points off the board and hand them over to the other team. This 49ers’ team is good enough to capitalize on those type of mistakes and are desperately itching for a win. We all know the Raiders are the “Bad Boys” of penalties, but to become a successful team you have to limit those mistakes come crunch time.
Offensive efficiency is vital in getting a “W” in Candlestick Park. The lower the score the better the 49ers chances are to pull out a win. Quarterback Jason Campbell will get the start Sunday due to Bruce Gradkowski injury, while running back Darren McFadden is still questionable. Back-up running Michael Bush did a good job in helping Oakland establish the run last week. You mix Bush’s solid play with Campbell’s efficiency from last week, you get an Oakland team that doesn’t appear to be that offensively challenge. Bottom line a balanced offense attack allows you the opportunity to put points on the board.
STOP THE RUN PLEASE! Raider Nation begs this of you. Oakland’s run defense was solid last week, but can they repeat that performance? They face running back Frank Gore, a former Pro Bowler that was rated as one of the top fantasy backs coming into the year. He’s been solid but hasn’t had a break out game this season. Doesn’t it seem fortunate that he gets his chance to bust out against the 31st ranked run defense? This is the type of unfortunate irony that Raider Nation has to hold their breath on. The Raiders must contain Gore, to slow down the 49ers offense.
This game is clearly a trap game, just ask the Atlanta Falcons (NFC South Division leader) who nearly lost to them in week 4. Winless or not this 49ers team has good young talent on both sides of the ball, and with them feeling the pressure of their owner’s bold prediction of making the playoffs after an 0-5 start expect this team to play with a chip on their shoulder.The Raiders need to make sure they dot all their I’s and cross all their T’s, because if they don’t Sunday’s evening press conference will be a podium of inexplicable excuses.
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Written by Arthur Kai