Raiders week again. Unlike the first meeting Raider fan has all but mailed this season in. If you go to the Scout.com Raider board (and I do) you will see thread after thread about who will be the next coach and who will be the QB next year. Narry a word is written about this weeks game...unless it's written by visiting Broncos fans. In all sincerity I do feel bad for the Raiders fans this year. They are nothing if not tenacious and loyal to their team. How horrible would it be living with Al Davis' decisions all the time...I think I would jump off the bay bridge. Well anyway, here it is, my look at Raiders week.
1. 60 minutes of execution. NO, I don't mean we need to bring in a headsman for the Raiders....I mean that we need to see a full game out of our boys. They beat the Ravens and last week beat Buffalo but neither game inspired fear. It looks like Shanahan made the proper adjustments for the second half of the Bills game so I'm hoping they can keep that up. We won't get far in the playoffs if we don't get back into executing from first snap to last.
Prediction: The Raiders can't stop the running game, and they can't stop the bootleg. This appears to be one of those games where the offense just pounds out yards. Look for this to be a 8 or nine possession game with TONS of rushing yardage.
2. HE COULD GO ALL THE WAY!!! Just once....ONCE...this season I would like to see Jake Plummer hit Ashley Lelie in stride down the field. I know Ash has dissappeared to some degree this year but I don't think it's all his fault. Regardless Mike Shanahan MUST find a way to involve our second reciever in the passing game. Rod Smith doesn't have the physical skills to beat teams down the field anymore and without that threat our running game suffers. Jake seems to be stuggling with the "9" route so they are
Prediction: I can see Shanny using a three receiver bunch to open up Lelie on the post or on short out routes. You might also see Jeb Putzier in on that bunch as he creates problems in coverage. Most corners are too small and most safetys not athletic enough to cover him. This formation really hurts defenses with "picks" and clears out zones.
3. Zach Attack! I know LaMont Jordan is out so we don't have to worry about the Raiders running game right? ummmm no. Justin Fargas does not impress me but Zach Crockett is a big, bruising pounder that will bring it all every play. Backs like LT and Fred Taylor don't have much success against our D. Guys like Larry Johnson and Crockett do.
Prediction: I think you will be unpleasantly suprised to see how effective he will be this week. I'm not talking about a 150 yard game but 100 is not out of the question. It really depends on how quickly the offense can put some points up and force the Raiders to throw.
4. Dominate with 4+1. Ok a little trivia here, see if you can answer this one. Who runs the 40 in 6.2, has the escapability of the south American three towed sloth and curls into the fetal position under stress.....If you said Kerry Collins you would be correct!! Don't get me wrong here. Collins can play pitch and catch with the best of them...however...he doesn't do so well once he starts getting hit. I think that the key to this is bringing conssitent pressure with our four down linemen and throwing one guy in on a blitz. If we do that we can drop six into coverage and look for some picks.
Prediction: The Raiders offense has become as predictable as Moose at a Chinese Buffet (sorry Sam, I had to)! If we get any kind of pressure on Collins this will be a three pick night for him.
5. BONG!!!!! BONG!!!!! No that's not the mating call for the Black Bellied Bay Area hemp lover. That's me Ringing my (Tatum) Bell. I would really like to see Tatum get 20 carries this game. I think his speed matches up well against the Raiders. Just like always I think Anderson should get the start but I would like to see MORE Tatum this week.
Prediction : Tatum goes 19 carries for 165 and 2 td. Anderson goes 16 for 102 and 1 td.
6. Duke....Wesley Duke. Ok so he did a "power layup" on the goalpost last week. I would have rather seen the dunk but I still love the kid! I think now would be a great time for Shanahan to unleash our newest secret weapon on an opposing defense. Mike would not have played him on the goal line like that if he didn't have faith in the kid...lets see some more of him.
Prediction: Duke goes 6 catches for 80 yards and 1 TD in his "coming out" party.
7. Killer instinct. Motivation should be a moot point when playing the Raiders but I got a bad feeling (again similar to Moose....but AFTER that Chinese Buffet) in my gut. Collins still throws the ball well when not pressured, Jerry Moss and Porter still run like the freakin wind and it's the RAIDERS!! What I'm trying to say is that we need to knock them down, kick them in the teeth, cover them with about six feet of dirt...then for good measure score another 14 points. I just don't want these guys to even think they can win this week....best way to do that is score on them early and often.
Prediction: Broncos 31 Raidtards 7
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