Oakland Raiders: Tonight's Game Against the Saints Is Important for the Raiders

Gary BurzellCorrespondent IIIAugust 28, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20:  Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20: Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Every year I say it: It is just preseason football.

Don't get too excited if you win. Don't get too upset if you lose.

Well, needless to say, as a Raiders fan, there hasn't been much for me to get too excited about during this preseason. In two games, the Raiders offense has only been able to convert five field goals and just one touchdown. They need to show that they can finish drives.

The defense has been allowing the big play both on run and pass defense. This isn't good either.

Yes, Darren McFadden and Jacoby Ford haven't played a single down this preseason. And I realize that the Raiders offense will suffer without those two players. I also realize there have been injured players on the defensive side who haven't played—or haven't played much. But if the Raiders want to seriously compete for the AFC West Championship, they need to be able to win when some of their starters are sidelined with injuries.

That is why tonight's game is important. Well, as important as a preseason game can be.

First-year Oakland head coach Hue Jackson has said to the media that he wants to build a bully. However, the Raiders have been pushed around at times during both preseason games—not on every play, not on every series, but even the first team has been pushed around at times.

A bully is supposed to do the pushing around, not the opposite.

If the Raiders can rebound tonight the New Orleans Saints, one of the better teams in the league, it will be a huge confidence builder for Hue Jackson's squad. The Raiders need to come out tonight and show what they are capable of, even if they have some players sidelined by injuries. After all, injuries are part of the game, and a team has to be able to overcome them if they expect to win on a consistent basis.

The offense needs to score touchdowns. The offensive line needs to protect Jason Campbell. If they can't protect their quarterback, Campbell won't last many games before he goes down with a serious injury.

The defense—well, the defense needs to be a bully. They need to stop the run and the pass, and not allow the big play. If they can do these things, they will show themselves—and the league—that they are a good team.

If they can do these things well, they will show they are capable of being a bully.

What do you think? Comment on the article below.

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