Hello, folks, and welcome back to my weekly column, Pressures, Hurries and Knockdowns. This season, I will be doing two versions: A pregame spread on Friday that outlines who is under pressure for the upcoming game (plus things we learned from the previous game), and a post-game piece on Monday to see if my pregame article had any merit or was just completely off-base.
I hope you join me throughout the season as the Raiders continue their climb back to the top of the AFC West.
Week 1 is in the books, and for the first time since the Super Bowl year of 2002, the Raiders have won their season opener.
Not only did they win, they were dominant in the trenches, holding Denver to less than three yards per carry on the ground; sacking Kyle Orton five times and forcing numerous other holding penalties from the offense.
Oh, they also went for almost 200 yards on the ground themselves. But that's par for the course these days.
Yes, the bully came to play, but they also went a little overboard at times, resulting in 15 penalties for over 130 yards. A lot of that can be chalked up to the emotion and intensity of an opening night game under the prime time lights against your biggest rival. I don't anticipate the chippiness to be at nearly the same level in Buffalo on Sunday.
While the Raiders won, and looked quite good doing it in many aspects, there were also a few causes for concern and some players that will be under pressure to produce more this coming weekend.
The Raiders travel to Buffalo on a short week to play a 1 PM game on the East Coast. It is a perfect storm of negative travel factors for the Raiders, but that cannot be an excuse. Hue Jackson has stated that this team needs to play Raider football regardless of the circumstances, and has challenged them to step up.
Buffalo went into Kansas City and completely dismantled a Chiefs team many—myself not one of them—were high on after they won the AFC West last season. Buffalo's performance, coupled with the long travel on the short week, make this a very difficult task for the Raiders.
Are they up to it? Who needs to step up? What did we learn from the Broncos game?
Let's find out.