Raiders Must Put It All On The Line and Play Five Weeks Of Hard Nosed Football

RaiderusMaxAnalyst IIDecember 1, 2010

Can the Oakland Raiders repeat 3-0 against AFC West rivals ?
Can the Oakland Raiders repeat 3-0 against AFC West rivals ?Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders versus the San Diego Chargers! Here we go again Raidernation.

The Oakland Raiders dropped to third in the AFC West last week when they were beaten by the Miami Dolphins. Many of the fans felt this game would be the springboard to division supremacy.

Unfortunately, it was not and the Oakland Raiders should spend a lot of time watching film and learning where the weaknesses lie within the team.

The Raiders are on the final stretch of games before the season ends and they will have to play their division rivals for a second time.

The nice thing is that the Raiders are 3-0 when it comes to rivals.

They still have a chance to get to the playoffs and it can only happen if they work as a team. One aspect that is in their favor is knowing the QB Jason Campbell has the reins from here on out. 

The Jason Campbell/Bruce Gradkowski issue is over. It seems the Raidernation itself was also divided as to which of the two was better for the Silver and Black.

I personally was for Gradkowski, but that issue has been put to rest—Campbell now controls the destiny of the Oakland Raiders and his own.

I am rooting for some wins that will turn heads once again.

The Raiders have a lot of weapons; however, it appears the use of them is completely wrong.

Then there is also the disappearance of players. What happened to WR Darrius Heyward-Bey last week? Where was WR Chaz Schilens?

WR Jacoby Ford has been the star for the Oakland Raiders and one would hope that his play would bring out more heart from the team. Ford, however is offense.

Defensively, the Raiders could play better ball. QB Chad Henne was hardly rushed and had time to get the ball to WR Davone Bess. The front four of the "Silver and Black Attack" need to get back to basics and play hard nosed football.

That is, play like their predecessors who made the Oakland Raiders the legends they are today.

The Raiders secondary is also lacking in coverage without pro-bowler Nnamndi Asomugha. Asomugha is back, so this is no longer as much a factor.

So, how is it that the Oakland Raiders can still make it even though the future seems gloomy?

It can only happen if the players that are playing below par, step up and play some hard nosed football. Both Stanford Routt and Walter McFadden needs to cover much better.

The last time the Raiders played the San Diego Chargers, QB Phillip Rivers threw for 431 yards while WR Malcolm Floyd received 213 yards. For the Raiders, RB Darren McFadden ran for over 100 yards.

Yet, Campbell has rarely thrown for over 300 yards (once against the Seahawks, 310 to be exact.)

When the Raiders defeated the Denver Broncos in Denver 59-10, there was not a huge amount of passing from the QB. Jason Campbell only threw for 204 yards while RB Darren McFadden ran for 165 yards! It was a good day for McFadden.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the Raiders need to keep the offense on the field longer. The play-calling has been off the mark, so it will not only be up to the players but primarily the calls coming from the sidelines.

Next is keep the pressure on Phillip Rivers so he can throw the ball to Tyvon Branch.

The Raiders also need WR's. When was the last time the Oakland Raiders had WR's Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford and Zach Miller all healthy and with reliable hands on the field?

Then there's the suspect playing ability of WR Chaz Schilens. When was the last time this guy was on the field anyway? Schilens should have be released in my opinion but there are many fans out there that claim he has great hands.

Well, guess what? The Raiders need his hands. It's time for Schilens to start earning what Al is paying. Ford should not be out there playing alone.

The Raiders should simply go all out and play the vertical game, while once again using the running of McFadden and also Michael Bush. The combined bashing of these two should open the vertical playbook. Bush should do well in this game if he is utilized more within the RedZone.

Why not the Wildcat in the Red Zone with McFadden and Bush in the backfield? I would love to see McFadden get the ball, fake a run then throw for the TD to Bush!

The Raiders have a lot of options for them on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. It will be these options that should give them the win.

The Raiders need to come together for this one game because not only will it restore the morale of a team who is almost near perfection, it will be a win against a rival that is getting better, so they need to dominate the San Diego Chargers again!

Defensively, the Raiders have shown they can stop the Denver running attack. The focus  Sunday should be the rushes, sacks and hurrying of Phillip Rivers. They know how to defeat the Chargers and should be able to fly back to Oakland with a win.

Tom Cable must also realize how important this game is and possibly his job. He must get it into the players' heads how serious this game is.

Do they want to play games that mean nothing or do they want to play those same games knowing they will make it and become this year's best AFC West team?

This is why the Raiders have a legitimate shot at the title. The players know. 

It's been nothing but up and down as far as gameplay is concerned. One minute, the Raiders are running some hard football down the throats of the opponents, then suddenly they look like a team lacking 48 hours of sleep.

So the question now becomes: Who will show? Being a Raider fan, I am gong to have to say it will be the team that defeated the San Diego Chargers last meeting. It will be a close game but hopefully the WR's step up and help Ford to make some big plays.

The Raiders will also shock the NFL, should they defeat both the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. The Kansas City Chiefs are looking good so the Raiders have to step up to the plate and prove the WRs Ford/Murphy are better than Jamaal Charles and his posse.

Looking at the remaining five games, it's obvious that the Raider defense needs to get to the QBs faster and the the Oakland Raider offense needs to get downfield and score.

Blitz LB Rolando McClain from time to time—yes, it's that simple. But it takes perfect timing and that's why I know with good practice that this team can do it.

The Raiders have, in the past, lost four opening games, win four and get into the playoffs. Therefore, no one can really say they are out now or can't achieve a trip to the playoffs.

There is the huge difference between Campbell and former QB Rich Gannon, however: It will be up to the wide receivers and the offensive front if the Oakland Raiders are serious about winning.

If the Raiders offensive line can give Campbell two more seconds in the pocket, then the team will surely have more wins by season's end. Campbell also has to get the ball thrown more. He needs to play a lot harder at the start of the game himself, especially when everyone is now battling for divisional titles and the playoffs.

The Oakland Raiders should be able to win four of their last five. It's a high number, but the talents are all there and I can only guess that owner Al Davis is discussing matter with Tom Cable and the rest of the coaching staff.

It's time to put in some overtime!


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