Countdown to Paydirt: at St. Louis Rams

The Oakland Raiders finally got into the win column, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football in week 12.

Now they head back on the road to St. Louis to take on the Rams, hoping to earn their first winning streak of the year.

After starting third-year quarterback Austin Davis the first eight games and going 3-5, head coach Jeff Fisher turned to 10-year veteran Shaun Hill to lead the offense. Hill has since been 44 for 77 for 499 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Hill has found a nice connection with wide receiver Benny Cunningham, who leads the team with 28 receptions for 225 yards and one touchdown. Veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt leads the team with 477 yards on 27 receptions. Tarell Brown, D.J. Hayden and TJ Carrie will have to keep an eye on the wide receivers to try and limit any big plays.

After going through a carousel of running backs, it appears the Rams will lean on rookie running back Tre Mason to get their running game going. Mason has recorded 445 yards and one touchdown on 108 carries (4.1 yards per carry) since getting action with the Rams.

The Rams defense has been clicking as of late, but is allowing 366.7 yards per game in all (19th in the NFL). They’ve had success in forcing turnovers, with linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Janoris Jenkins leading the team with two picks each. Ogletree is also the team’s leading tackler with 75 stops (62 solo) on the year.

Even without defensive end Chris Long, the Rams have had a very good pass rush this season. The unit has totaled 22 sacks this year and six different Rams have posted multiple sacks on the season. Defensive end Robert Quinn leads the team with six sacks and rookie DT Aaron Donald just behind him with five.

The Raiders offensive line will need to find a way to give rookie quarterback Derek Carr some time in order to make his progressions.

With running back Latavius Murray out with his concussion from last week, the Raiders will once again turn to the veteran combination of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. The combination has done little all year with the opportunity, but the Rams are allowing 115.8 yards per game on the ground. It will be interesting to see if they give any carries to the undrafted rookie, George Atkninson III, who was just called up on Saturday.

The Raiders will return home next week to take on their Bay Area rivals, the San Francisco 49er’s who struggled mightily in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving.

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