The Oakland Raiders are preparing to open their season against the defending AFC West champions, the San Diego Chargers. Givin the 11 game winning streak San Diego currently holds against Oakland, it's easy to assume San Diego is going to go into the Black Hole and blow the Raiders out of the water. I will admit, I too, am guilty of this assumption. But, as the old saying goes, "when you assume something, you make an ASS outta U-M-E."
Because anything can happen on any givin Sunday, nothing is set in stone and the Raiders actually have a chance to win this game. The Chargers need to understand there is a chance this game will not be a "gimme."
Let's take a step back and analyze Oakland's chances.
The Raiders were ranked 10th in the league in rushing last season. These guys have weapons and are more than capable of running the football. In order for San Diego to win this game we need to prepare for Oakland's three headed monster, Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, and Michael Bush.
Although the Raiders ranked dead last in the league in passing offense a year ago, Jamarcus Russel seemed to be clicking with his receivers toward the end of the season. He even managed to throw 2 touchdowns in all of their final three games of the season. If he can carry that momentum into Monday night's game and establish a passing offense, along with red-zone execution, he could keep San Diegos defense pretty honest and possibly give us a run for our money.
A few of Oakland's mentionable passing threats that will be active in Mondays game are the speedy Johnnie Lee Higgins, the newly aquired first round draft pick Darrius Hayward Bey, and TE Zach Miller who has proven to be a constant threat anytime he gets his hands on the ball. Due to injury, Chaz Schillens will not be active in Mondays game.
On the defensive side of the ball is where I feel the Raiders will struggle the most. Both Oakland and San Diego had a tough time stopping the run last season. (San Diego ranked 20th, Oakland ranked 31st) Oakland's lack of run defense, I feel, will be the difference maker in the game and will most likely give the Chargers an advantage. After all, LaDainian Tomlinson almost always seems to throw down a stellar performance against the Raiders defense. And even though the Raiders recently aquired five time Pro Bowl DE Richard Seymour, he will not be active in Monday's game.
The Raiders did much better than the Chargers last season in pass defense. They have an excellent secondary which includes the most dangerous CB in the leaugue Nnamdi Asumugha.
If the Chargers are going to win this game, we need to establish our running attack. Trying to get all pass happy on this defense may prove to be detrimental to our success.
With all of that being said, I'm ready for some Monday Night Football!!