Browns-Raiders Preview

It's game-day! The Browns look to improve to (3-2), as they walk into Oakland for s street-fight.....as these Oakland Raiders have the mindset and toughness of some very good Raiders teams of the past.

The final images of Al Davis were strikingly unpleasant. It was a press conference Jan. 18 introducing the Oakland Raiders new head coach Hue Jackson.

He looked unhealthy. He sounded bizarre. It was a shame.

Davis did a lot of good for the National Football League. Davis' tenure as commissioner of the American Football League led to the merger with the NFL in 1970.

He hired the league's first African-American coach (Art Shell), the first Latino head coach (Tom Flores) and hired Amy Trask as the Raiders' CEO. She is the only female CEO in the NFL.

Of course, Davis had a cantankerous personality with NFL's higher-ups and his own coaches and he moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland. Still, the NFL would not be as it is today if it weren't for Davis.

"Al Davis is the Oakland Raiders," Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said. "I had a chance to watch their game on TV (last Sunday) and you could tell by the reactions from the coaches and the players that they were very happy about the victory. I don't know how that's going to affect this week, but I do know that he's meant so much to that organization and I'm sure they're going to play hard."

Oakland beat Houston 25-20 with an interception in the closing seconds to improve to 3-2. Now, the Raiders return home to play host to the Browns at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Will the Browns face a team continued to be inspired by the death of its owner or will they see a team emotionally drained from the last two weeks?

Although the Browns are coming off their bye week, it was anything but quiet. First, there was the 31-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 2. Then, the drama surrounding running back Peyton Hillis continued to drive the media's main story line. Finally on Oct. 10, backup linebacker Marcus Benard crashed his motorcycle.

Oakland may be on its ninth head coach from 1995, but this team has talent and because Davis drafted that talent – and they're fast.

It has resulted in an offense that is currently ranked eighth in points scored (27.2), ninth in total yards per game (381.6) and second in rushing yards per game (161.8). Darren McFadden is averaging 103.8 yards per game has he has 519 yards and three touchdowns on 91 carries in five games.

McFadden is coming off his worst performance of the season, as he had 51 yards on 16 carries against the Texans. Still, McFadden is first in the NFL in rushing yards ahead of Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (498 yards).

Unfortunately, the Browns defense still continues to struggle to stop the run.

They are ranked 26th in the NFL allowing 124.5 yards per game. In addition, the Browns secondary is banged up, as Joe Haden (knee) is not expected to play. Haden is tied for the league lead in eight pass break ups and he has 26 in 20 career games.

Haden may be solid in coverage against team's No. 1 wide receiver, but he can also tackle, which does not bode well for the Browns' porous run defense.

Offensively, the Browns are coming off an ugly performance against the Titans.

Most notably, the team got away from running the ball. Colt McCoy attempted 61 passes while Hillis and Hardesty combined for 17 rushing attempts.

Utilizing the short passing game in the West Coast offense is fine and dandy, but the Browns need to establish the run. In Week 2 against Indianapolis, Hillis had 27 carries for 94 yards.

Oakland has allowed the Bills (223 yards), New York Jets (100) and New England Patriots (183) to gain yards in chucks via the ground game.

What better way to silence all the goofy reports than to allow Hillis to take his frustrations out on the Raiders' run defense?

This does sound too simple, but the formula the Browns need to employ on Sunday is to run the ball and stop the run. That will force the Raiders' starting quarterback Jason Campbell beat them through the air.

Like Tennessee, Oakland is a quality opponent for the Browns to measure themselves against. The first measurement session didn't go well, but a bye week could do wonders for a young team.

What better way to honor Al Davis on Sunday than for the Browns to utilize one of his most famous sayings?

"Just win, baby."


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