The Oakland Raiders have been nothing short of phenomenal at setting the tone in the last four games. If you look at the first four possessions for each side, you will see just how dominant they have been:
San Diego Safety (-2), Blocked Punt (-7), Fumble, Fumble
Oakland FG (+3), Punt, Punt, Punt
Net points gain: +9
San Francisco Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt
Oakland FG (+3), FG (+3), Int, Punt
Net points gain: +6
Denver Int (-7), Fumble, Downs, Punt
Oakland TD (+7), TD (+7), FG (+3), TD (+7)
Net points gain: +31
Seattle Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt
Oakland Punt, Punt, FG (+3), Punt
Net points gain: +3
Whatever Coach Cable is saying before kick-off is working! In the first four possessions of the last four games, the Raiders have held their opponents scoreless whilst racking up 16 points on defense and 36 points on offense. In tight games, this type of lead is very hard to overcome.
A similar start on Sunday is critical to Oakland winning. Backed by a hostile Black Hole, the Silver-and-Black need to shut down the Kansas City Chiefs early and punch in a few scores.
An early 14-0 deficit away from home will take KC out of their run-run-run comfort zone and allow Oakland’s speedy pass rushers to tee-off. It will also mean Oakland can turn the offense over to Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, with some play-action thrown in for good measure.
Starting hot is crucial—it’s what Oakland has been doing and they are in the zone. A slow start may just disturb the Raiders recent confidence and could bring back some doubts. If so, the crowd and the team leaders will need to bring Oakland back up to their recent level.
It’s going to be explosive—hold on to your hats!