Oakland Raiders: Factors That Will Influence the Outcome Vs the Chargers
It's no secret that the Raiders hold the 2nd longest losing streak in the NFL vs the Chargers. Only the Bills have lost more games to a single opponent (Patriots-14). On paper it looks to be an easy win for the Chargers, as it has been for 7 years.
The Raiders need this win to stay in contention for the AFC West. More importantly, they need this win to avoid a catastrophic meltdown. However, there are factors that could help get the holy "W" over the Chargers.
This was an all too familiar sight last week. The whole LB crew was out of whack & McClain looked lost on running plays. It has been revealed that there was a death in the family this week.
I'm inclined to believe that is the reason he wasn't 100% last week. He should playing with more passion & energy this week.
He was drafted to anchor our defense and upgrade our run defense. We are going to need him to up his game if we are to have any type of three and outs on defense.
I expect him to bounce back this week with a renowned focus. He will have to if we plan to have any success stopping Tolbert & Mathews (5.5 & 4.7 YPC).
As it stands, the majority of our LB crew is injured. Goethel still has a back problem while Groves injured his hamstring last week & Howard has knee problems.
We signed Bruce Davis JR from the 49ers practice squad to our active roster this week. The biggest change is Trevor Scott will be back at his old WSL position.
This means Shaughnessy will be playing more DE this week. These two changes should help contain the run more, as both of the Charger RB's are averaging about 5 yards a carry.
This absence of this man will hurt us dearly. It's reported that he has a broken foot and will be out at least 5 more weeks. To put his effect in perspective, the two games he played in the opponents (Tennessee & St. Louis) averaged 4.7 yards a carry (280 yards in between both games).
Without him against Arizona & Houston we averaged 5.9 yards a carry with 368 yards combined between both teams. Some might say that is not a big difference but if you saw how bad Beanie Wells & the 3 Houston running backs gashed our defense then you know what I'm talking about.
Add on that Desmond Bryant is our only backup as of now (Jay Alford released for Bruce Davis JR) & we're one injury away from allowing Matthews to run for 200+ yards.
I like Bruce and have always been one to think that he can be our franchise QB (I still do). Realistically speaking, he needs to start playing like one. So far, his numbers show he has played like a backup thrust into the starting lineup
While it's not all entirely his fault, we need to see him bump his game up from C level QB to a B level QB. San Diego has the 4th best pass defense at 157 yards a game & his easily the stiffest defense we have played thus far.
We will need him to cut back on some of the penalties he's been the culprit of the past few weeks. He's also going to have to deliver the ball a little quicker, as the O-line seems to get worse by the week.
It's safe to say that DMAC has changed the minds of many with his performance so far. He was easily on his way to the being the Raiders first 1,000 yard rusher since Fargas a few years back.
We all got a dose of reality when he injured his hamstring last week. While this might not affect our end product, it does leave questions that Michael Bush must answer.
We haven't seen him play a full solo game since 08. No doubt he will produce but can Bush match or exceed DMAC's current production?
Hue Jackson & his play call has been predictable to say the least. While he has shown a few tricks up his sleeve (see Reece TD last week), he has yet to do it on a consistent basis. Like fellow writer Jay Dee said in a previous article, "There is a difference between vanilla play call & predictable play call".
You can be vanilla without being predictable. We need to get out of the gate running but most importantly, we need to have a lead. If we can take a 7 point lead early on, then it will give Hue more flexibility with his play call.
He won't have to play catch up all game & he can keep the defense on their toes with a good mix of run & pass plays. He will play a big role in how our offense produces this week.
This could very well be Cable's last game as HC of the Oakland Raiders. With so many injuries to the starters, it will be up to him to put the best 11 men on the field at all times.
The front seven on defense, our starting WR's & the O-line should get some sort of personnel change after last week. Some backups should be seeing more time this week while our starters rest.
Even so, will Tom be able to correct 4 weeks worth of problems in 3 days? You now (allegedly) know the problems Cable, so let's see the solutions.
I know, this is a very old picture of a very old Raider team. The attitude this week will be the biggest deciding factor. The players must give their 100% from the beginning to the end of the game. It doesn't matter if we are down 20 or up by 3, we need to play like we are playing in the Super Bowl.
The coaches have been putting up flyers in the locker room that say "The one constant you can count on in playing the Raiders is that they don't finish plays and they don't finish games". The players are frustrated at losing & are ready to take it out on the Chargers.
They will be playing in front of a small audience no doubt, but they will need to show up nonetheless.
I know there are more players that could help decide this game (Murphy, DHB, O-line, Special teams, Branch, Huff, etc etc). I believe that the ones mentioned in the previous slides will have the biggest effects this week.
How Rolando & Scott play will reflect on how our run defense & pass defense will play. How Bruce & Bush play will decide how relevant our WR's become this game. Who Cable picks to start & how well Hue does this week will decide how close this game will be.
Feel free to add any players or things you feel will decide this game