Sunday’s game against Jacksonville is a game that the 1-4 Oakland Raiders should, and need to win. However, especially in recent history, these are the kinds of games that the Raiders have lost. After an impressive effort in Atlanta, despite the loss, the hope is that this team will continue to get better. If the Raiders are to do so with a win today, there are a few key areas there will need to be a focus on.
Stack the Box
Jacksonville’s offense is built around their running game, as the passing attack has struggled thus far. Maurice Jones-Drew leads that ground game, and is capable of having a huge game at any time. The Raiders will need to stack the box in hopes of shutting down the running game, and forcing the ball into QB Blaine Gabbert’s hands. Doing so should help the defense get off the field faster, giving the ball back to the offense.
Keep Getting Vertical
As Denarius Moore keeps getting comfortable in the offense, it seems the Raiders are taking more and more shots down field. In today’s game, they will need to continue to do that, as the capability for big plays through the air is there. Like any game, stretching the field through the passing game forces the defensive backs to respect the possibility of the big play, thus helping the running game get going as well. With the struggles of the Raiders running game so far in 2012, this becomes even more important to establish. If the Raiders can complete some chunk-yardage passing plays down the field, the offense could get on a roll in all phases, and have one of their best games of the season.
Establish the Run
Every week is supposed to be the week that the Raiders’ high potential running game gets going. Last week was an improved performance, but still not where they need to be. The matchup against the Jaguars’ defense provides the possibility of a breakout running game, but it is not a given by any means. They will need to stay committed to the ground game, as eventually they will start to succeed. Whether or not that will come this week, we don’t know. What we do know, is that if it does come this week, it will go a long way to helping the Raiders to victory.
This week 7 matchup against the Jaguars can be seen as a must win for the Raiders. Last week, we saw improvement, and it is important to build on that. While winning this game and moving to 2-4 wouldn’t necessarily save their season, it would do much to kick start some momentum heading into a weaker part of their schedule. If they can indeed come away with a win, it will likely be due in large part to some success in these 3 areas.
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