The word "Luck" is defined as, "The force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities, and good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance."
But no one would have guessed that anything like this would happen.
San Diego Chargers fans believed that the Oakland Raiders possessed this “luck” when the Raiders defeated their beloved Chargers way back in early October; if one were to talk to Raider fans, they will tell you that special teams and forcing turnovers brought success to the silver and black against their AFC West rivals.
No matter which side you believe, the end result was the Raiders getting the victory and the Chargers seeing their 13 game winning streak over Oakland snapped.
Now fast forward to this past Sunday in San Diego, where it did not take the Oakland Raiders long to set the tone and jump all over the Chargers. This was clearly a tale of two completely different teams: San Diego was on fire having won four in a row, and looking like the team many experts picked to win the AFC West.
Oakland was at the opposite of the spectrum: They had just lost two in a row, could not settle on a starting quarterback and looked to be heading back to the AFC West cellar once again.
Much maligned QB Jason Campbell wasted no time in doing his best Kenny “The Snake” Stabler impression, scoring a nine yard touchdown run on Oakland’s second possession after Chargers RB Darren Sproles muffed a Shane Lechler punt.
From that point on, it was all Raider football, as Campbell guided Oakland to a 28-13 victory and back into playoff contention.
Special teams and “luck” did not make the difference today. No, this game was won by playing solid aggressive defense and establishing a consistent running game.
This was not a “luck” win, it was an old fashioned whoopin.
There is always room for improvement: WR Malcom Floyd made several big plays along with the rest of the San Diego receiving corps. The Raiders must shore up their secondary and eliminate the “Big Plays” that allow teams to build momentum and get back into the game.
The defensive line hurried and harassed QB Phillip Rivers, sacking him four times and causing him to throw an interception.
The Raider rushing attack made all the difference in this game. Oakland gained 251 yards on the ground against San Diego. It was the first time since 1980 the Raiders gained over 200 yards against the Bolts.
Both Darren McFadden and Michael Bush pounded San Diego and ended the day with almost identical stats. When the Raider running game is clicking and running for positive yardage, they can be extremely hard to beat.
The Raider rushing game and defensive line will both have to step up and play over their heads when they head to Jacksonville to take on the surprise AFC South leading (7-5) Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have won three of four, they are coming off a big win over the Tennessee Titans and are looking to make it two in a row and spoil any chances the Raiders have of making the playoffs.
Jacksonville boasts one of the league’s best RBs in Maurice Jones-Drew, and not only did he torch the Titans, but he has reached the century mark in rushing five games in a row. It is no secret to the Oakland coaching staff, that if they are going to stop the Jaguars, they must first stop Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville running game.
If Oakland can stop the rushing attack, they will force QB David Garrard to find open receivers and that can be a difficult task for the Jaguars. The lack of big play receivers and a lack luster Garrard feeding them the ball could spell relief for the Raider secondary.
Oakland still has some glaring holes to fill in the defensive backfield; they definitely have talent in the secondary, but have yet to put it all together and turn in a perfect performance.
This game could actually be what the Raider secondary needs to gain confidence and make some plays.
These two teams seem to be heading toward the same goal and on similar paths, but the question is who will want it more on Sunday afternoon.
The Raiders have a penchant for coming out flat for a big game and falling flat on their faces. Remember, the Oakland defensive line was supposed to slice through a Steelers O-Line that was injury riddled; the Raiders were also supposed to crush a hideous San Francisco squad that has barely been able to get out of its own way.
The storyline is simple: the Raiders control their own destiny and must decide whether they are ready to step up and make that final push towards the playoffs. They must keep winning to keep pace and forced a pivitol final week of the season showdown against hated AFC West rival Kansas City.
Let us be honest: The fact that the Oakland Raiders are sitting at 6-6 and are dangerously close to making the playoffs is remarkable in itself.
It has added a sense of excitement and urgency to these final weeks of the season that will have The Raider Nation on the edge of their seats, as long as the silver and black keep focused and handle their business.
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