AFC West Report: Raiders Fall

For the Oakland Raiders and their newly revamped offense the defending world champion New England Patriots were just a little too much for the Raiders to handle falling 30-20. But fear not AFC West fans, there's plenty of more action is to come this weekend.

Besides Tom Brady, who was in mid-season form, sixteen penalties for 149 yards seemed to be the most of the Raiders problems on Thursday night as they fall to 0-1 on the season. The Raiders started off strong moving down the field 72-yards in 3:09 for the first of two Collins touchdown passes when he connected with Courtney Anderson from 2-yards out.

However that lead wouldn't hold up as the Patriots scored 10 points to finish off the first quarter scoring. Raiders Quarterback Kerry Collins then connected with Randy Moss for a 73-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-10. But as was the case a year ago, the Raiders defense could not stop their opponent. The Raiders would never see the lead after halftime.

Wide Receivers Ronald Curry and Doug Gabriel did not play and Moss saw double and triple teams for most of the game. Running back Lamont Jordan finished with 70 yards on 18 carries. Collins did have an interception when Richard Seymour pushed center Jake Grove back into Collins and Vince Wilfork picked the ball off in the backfield. The Raiders will try to rebound when they host the Chiefs on Sunday.

The Denver Broncos will debut on the road this weekend in Miami where they will try to give new Dolphins head coach Nick Saban a rude awakening in his first NFL game. The Dolphins were the worst team in the AFC East last year finishing 4-12. But Saban has brought a new attitude to the south Florida team and that could prove dangerous in this trap game for the Mile High boys.

Mike Shanahan has high expectations for Jake Plummer who will be in his third year under the Shanahan regime. Shanahan is 10-2 in season openers but is 0-3 playing games at Miami. The Dolphins should have a stout defense but are inept on the offense. A heavy dose of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will be given to the Broncos front seven.

The game plan for the Broncos, and for every team playing Miami, will be to load up the box and make Gus Frerotte beat them. The game falls in to the hands of the Broncos and the Dolphins appear to be severely overmatched against the deep Denver defense. Kick-off is set for 1:00 EST at Dolphins Stadium on Sunday.

The San Diego Chargers have one of the more interesting contests, as they will host Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys at 1:00 PST on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. This offseason the Chargers primarily stayed the same while the Cowboys had an extreme makeover.

Drew Bledsoe comes over from Buffalo to reunite with Parcells to assume the quarterback position. Both Parcells and Bledsoe's time in this league have to be coming to a close in the not to distant future so they will try to lead the Cowboys to another Super Bowl run, a run the fans have not scene since the mid 90's.

The Dallas defense has upgraded tremendously as well so Drew Brees, without the suspended tight end Antonio Gates, will have a legitimate challenge on their hands to open the season. The Cowboys should be strong on defense. Last year they plummeted from their number one ranking but they drafted well and hope to reclaim some respect.

The Chargers defense might have their hands full as well. Along with Bledsoe is the smooth running game of Julius Jones. The Boys added wide receiver Peerless Price to go along with veterans Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and tight end Jason Witten to give them one of the most experienced groups in the NFL.

Still this be a strategic chess match with Parcell's Cowboys and Marty Schottenheimer's Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

The Kansas City Chiefs will open their 2005 season at home against the New York Jets. Stay tuned for more game day reports from Warpaint Illustrated on the Chiefs and Jets match-up.

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