Pregame Observations: Oakland Edition

The Dolphins had reasont to bemoan the loss at Dallas in a game they easily could have — and possibly should have — won. Another measuring stick of the progress they have made will come Sunday afternoon when the Oakland Raiders come to Sun Life Stadium.

• It is, however, a banged-up Raiders team that the Dolphins will face. And it's the area of speed where Oakland really will be short-handed, with Darren McFadden, Taiwan Jones, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford all expected to miss the game. That's an awful lot of speed to leave at home.

• That said, don't think the Oakland offense will be easy to stop because of that. Carson Palmer seems to have found his groove at quarterback, and he could be the difference between the Raiders stumbling to the playoffs and perhaps being a factor once they get there.

• The running game, though, is what makes the Raiders go, and even with McFadden, the Dolphins will need to deal with Michael Bush, a big back with good feet.

• The encouraging for Miami is that the run defense has been stellar in recent weeks. The Dolphins totally shut down Fred Jackson a couple of weeks ago and kept DeMarco Murray relatively in check at Dallas. Bush will represent that kind of challenge.

• The other Bush in the game, Reggie, is facing a good matchup because the Raiders are not good at stopping the run.

• In fact, it might not be far-fetched to say that the outcome will be decided by which Bush has the better game.

• The big challenge for the Dolphins offensively, in addition to finishing off drives in the red zone, will be protecting Matt Moore. Oakland has a very good and well-balanced pass rush.

• As far as their secondary, the Raiders don't have Nnamdi Asomugha anymore but still get the job done on the back end.

• In case you're wondering whether Brandon Marshall would relish facing the Raiders considering his vast experience against them from his time in Denver, he said the team that really got him going was San Diego. Marshall did say he loved playing in Oakland.

• Davone Bess sure loved playing in Oakland last year when he had a monster game in his hometown. There's no reason he can't have another big game on Sunday.

• Dan Carpenter will be doing the kicking again, with Shayne Graham no longer on the roster. It will be interesting to see whether Carpenter is affected at all by the groin injury that cost him the last two games.

• The absence of Jacoby Ford removes one headache for the Dolphins, that of kickoff coverage. Of course, Dolphins fans remember too well he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown last year.

• When it comes to the kicking game, though, the Raiders will bring in the best punter-placekicker tandem in the league. Carpenter and Brandon Fields are very good for the Dolphins, the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler are tremendous.

• We're looking forward to seeing whether Karlos Dansby can rebound after a relatively quiet game in Dallas and whether Matt Moore can continue his hot streak. Yes, he missed some throws in Dallas but his passer rating was still almost 100, capping a tremendous month of November for him.

• The Raiders' last visit to Miami was in 2008 when the Dolphins pulled out a late victory during their magical run to an AFC East title. This really figures to be another close game. The Raiders figure to make the playoffs this season, while the Dolphins are playing like a playoff team right now ... even if it won't get them a spot in the postseason. So something will have to give.

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