The Browns are 2-2 but they are inches away from the NFL's flea list—beating only two winless teams. (Colts and Dolphins.) The were beaten solidly by the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-17, and blown out by the Tennessee Titans, 31-13.
So in my opinion, the Raiders have to blow them out.
Turn the page to see how they need to it.
Before everyone loads up on the running game, Jason Campbell is going to have to prove that he could throw the ball. He did so against Buffalo and New England but threw key interceptions against the Patriots.
He pretty much disappeared in the other three games with his inability to complete the deep ball. I counted five more touchdown passes he could have had if he could just throw it to where his receiver can catch it in stride.
Being a Raiders quarterback isn't about quarterback rating and touchdown passes. It's about making a play when the opportunity presents itself and the fast Raiders receivers have presented themselves wide open.
If he doesn't do it against the Browns, opposing teams will take star running back Darren McFadden away and dare Campbell to beat them.
Campbell will also hear those "PRY-OR" chants!
The Raiders are the No. 2 rushing team in the NFL, but they haven't been able to run that well the last two games. The Raiders need to, and will look to get that running game going again, as running is their identity.
The Browns are ranked No. 25 against the run so it isn't likely that they stop McFadden and co. If they do, the NFL will copy what the Browns do going forward in their attempts to stop the Raiders running game.
I see 200 for McFadden as a statement game.
The Browns are a Top 10 team in the NFL when it comes to sacks allowed and they're No. 2 in attempts per game. This means Richard Seymour and the defensive line is going to have to show that they can dominate a Top 10 pass protecting offensive line.
They really didn't do too much in the way of getting to Tom Brady so they have to show something getting to Colt McCoy on Sunday. Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs need to be shut down by the improved coverage by the Raiders' corners.
The Raiders gave up 317-of-416 yards to tight ends and running backs against the Texans. This Sunday, they get tight end Ben Watson and running back Peyton Hillis to prove they can stop tight ends and running backs in the passing game.
That is a good test to see if the Raiders have those issues handled.
The Cleveland Browns love to line it up and pound the rock with Hillis—featuring a physical running game. The Raiders haven't been able to stop the run out of spread formations this year but they've stopped the power running game.
The Browns used that physical, power running game to roll through the Patriots last year. However, They are only the No. 27 ranked rushing team in the NFL so far this year.
This is the matchup that will determine if the Raiders get their blowout or not.
The Raiders are still on that quest to prove that they are a contender in the AFC. Beating the Browns doesn't make them one, but losing to them or struggling with them at home will say they aren't there yet.
The Raiders must win big Sunday for the rest of the league to take notice and most importantly—their own fans. The Raiders need everything I mentioned in the preceding slides along with strong special teams play to happen for the Raiders to win big.
Sunday isn't do-or-die but it's do-or-don't!