The Oakland Raiders are heading into a bye week and at 5-4 have reason for excitement. They are currently on a three-game winning streak. In their last three games, the Silver and Black has outscored opponents by 115-37. The average rushing yards per game is 226.3. Jason Campbell has also raised his quarterback rating to an impressive 108.4 compared to the 10 rating he had against the San Francisco 49ers.
In the AFC West however, the record speaks for itself, 3-0. This answers the question, Who is the better team in the race for the AFC West title. The Raiders have defeated the Chiefs, the denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers! They will play them one more time each, but the Raiders should be able to repeat.
Many heard the words of coach Tom Cable when he said, "We are going for the AFC West division title." Looking at how well the Oakland Raiders have played; it's a viable statement.
Tom Cable has been the building block for the Oakland Raiders. In fact, when former coach Lane Kiffin was released and Tom Cable was interim, there were fans claiming that Cable should be released as well. Then there were the loyal who could see that Tom Cable was a different type of coach.
Tom Cable went through a tough year after news of his alleged punching of an assistant coach and the the ex-wife debacle. Still, and very much like the team he coaches, Tom Cable survived it all, kept his focus on Oakland Raider improvement, and is the winner.
The road is still going to be tough for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have a realistic shot at the playoffs but to do so must play well against some decent teams. the first being their nemesis from days past, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year it was QB Bruce Gradkowski who was able to defeat the Steelers. This year will be Jason Campbell.
Jason Campbell has really done a great job turning around his career in Oakland. At the start of this season, his play was mediocre. Looking back, I would have to admit that I was premature in my judgment of him and it appears he only needed time to adjust.
Jason Campbell was literally booed off the field in the game against the St. Louis Rams. He remained quiet until his calling came after Bruce Gradkowski was injured. Soon after, there was the loss in San Fran, but Jason Campbell came back and has played well. He posted the best record defeating the Denver Broncos in Denver, 59-10.
If for some reason Jason Campbell does flop in the first half against Pittsburgh like he did in San Francisco, I believe Tom Cable will bring in Bruce Gradkowski. This is a huge benefit for the Raiders to have two quarterbacks in these situations.
The difference between the two QBs is noticeable. Jason Campbell needs time in the pocket to get his passes down field. Bruce Gradkowski is a "spark plug" and fires very quickly and can literally pick you apart.
RB Darren McFadden is another piece of the pie that is ever so sweet. His resurgence has also put the Raiders back in stride. Last season McFadden posted low numbers and was injured most of the time. In 2010, McFadden has posted 757 yard rushing despite missing two games. He ranks third at 5.4 yards per carry. Darren McFadden is also the key to the offense regardless of who will quarterback the Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders will have time to rest and recover this week. This bye week should work in their favor as they have some injured players. TE Zach Miller, CB Nnamndi Asomugha and QB Bruce Gradkowski should all return ready to take down a tired Pittsburgh Steelers team. I believe this to be the factor for a win in Pittsburgh.
The Oakland Raiders look really good and its good to finally see this team basking in the glory of the work and wins they've managed to pull out despite the odds. The Oakland Raiders always seemed to get bad press from ESPN and Jim Rome (and his bald step-in analyst, I forget his name but he totally bashed the Raiders) at the season start but now those wishy washy announcers are for the silver and black.
Go Oakland Raiders. I know we will be healthy when we play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coming off the bye with spirits raised will be factor. Finally, way to go Jacoby Ford!