The Raiders are coming off their 12th loss in a row, dating back to last season. Meanwhile, the Browns have looked solid this year for the most part, but did just get dominated last week by a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was winless at the time.
The Raiders currently have the worst rushing attack in the NFL; The Browns currently have the worst rushing defense in the league; one of these two things are going to have to give on Sunday.
Interim head coach Tony Sparano hopes to get Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew going. The Browns are allowing 155.5 yards per game on the ground, leaving it a strong possibility that the Raiders could revitalize their running game. The Raiders are averaging just 69.3 yards per game on the ground.
Rookie quarterback Derek Carr will be going up against a Browns defense that has seven interceptions on the year, but has given up 241.5 yards per game in the air. There’s no doubt Carr will look to return to his form against the Chargers, when he threw for 282 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Carr had a tougher time last week, throwing for just 173 yards and no touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals.
On defense, the Raiders need to find a way to stop the Browns rushing attack and force long third downs for quarterback Brian Hoyer and the Browns offense. Running back Ben Tate can be a powerful back with potential for a big game. The Browns are averaging 133.5 yards on the ground per game, sixth in the NFL.
Minimizing the running game will also force Hoyer and the offense into longer third-down attempts, something the Raiders have struggled to do for the most part this year. The Raiders are getting off the field on third down just 52.9 percent of the time, last in the NFL.
On third down, the Raiders secondary needs to keep track of wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and tight end Jordan Cameron who are their most sure-handed receivers with Josh Gordon still out with his suspension. Hawkins has amassed 382 yards on 29 receptions, but has yet to enter the end zone.
Things don’t get much easier for the Raiders as they head out on the road next week to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. But the Raiders can’t focus on that, they need to just work on getting their first win of the season.