The Oakland Raiders travel to the east coast for the third time this year to take on the surprising AFC South leading Jacksonville Jaguars in a key game the Raiders must win to have a shot at winning the AFC West division, as well as making the playoffs. Here are three things the Raiders must accomplish to stay the course for their onward march to the playoffs.
Offensive consistency will be key for the last four games of the season, especially with two of their last four games on the road. The Raiders have been outscored 73-16 in their previous two games on the east coast against Tennessee and Pittsburgh. The Raiders must jump out to a fast start to have a legitimate chance of winning this ball game. The foundation of Oakland’s offense starts with the running game behind Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, who rushed for a combined 192 yards in last week’s win over San Diego. If the offensive line can have another solid game, and quarterback Jason Campbell picks his spot, the Raiders should put up enough points to win this Sunday afternoon.
Defensively, the Raiders must maintain the balance they have had of late when it comes to putting pressure on the quarterback, making plays in the secondary and most importantly, stopping the run. Oakland’s defense plays a feisty runner in running back Maurice Jones-Drew and a mobile quarterback in David Garrard, and must contain them to slow down the Jaguars offense. Creating turnovers on defense will be key for the Raiders, because when that happens, its normally a long day for the opposition.
Staying focused mentally and physically will determine the Raiders success in their matchup against the Jaguars. No bonehead penalties, no missed assignments, and fundamentally taking care of your responsibilities are areas in which the Raiders must gain an advantage in to win Sunday’s ball game. In games like this, its normally the little things that decides who wins and loses these type of contests.
The Raiders are two games behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West division. A win by Oakland and a lost by the Chiefs, could make this an entertaining stretch in the 4th quarter of the NFL season. Coach Tom Cable and the Raiders can possibly control their own fate if they take care of business one game at a time. Are they ready for this type of pressure? This should be interesting!
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Written by Arthur Kai