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The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers: The Battle of the Bays

Frank Fittipaldi@@Frank_FittiCorrespondent IIOctober 12, 2010

No matter the starter, Gradkowski or Campbell will find success in week six.
No matter the starter, Gradkowski or Campbell will find success in week six.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While the 49ers are sitting at 0-5 and in desperate need of a win, the Raiders are coming off a huge divisional win against the Chargers. The Raiders hope to carry that momentum across the bay to San Francisco and leave Candlestick with a win.

The 49ers have fallen extremely short of high preseason expectations so far this season, to say the least. Quarterback Alex Smith has made many mistakes, and the fans have even cheered for backup David Carr. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2005 has made crucial mistakes time and time again.

It is only a matter of time before Smith is actually benched for good.

Mike Singletary's 49ers have been in mostly every game this season but have the inability to finish football games. At 0-5, the Niners are desperate for a win, and many believe that they are due to pull a game out sooner or later. Well 49er fans, it will probably be later. The Raiders beat the Chargers for the first time since 2003 and will ride that energy into Week Six in San Francisco.

Whether it is Bruce Gradkowski or Jason Campbell, the Raiders have all the confidence in the world and are ready to make a run to win the AFC West. In order to be the champs, you have to beat the champs—and the Raiders did just that in Week Five against San Diego. Although they are coming off a huge win, the Raiders cannot sleep on the 49ers because their 0-5 record can be deceiving.

The 49ers could easily have two or three wins and be very much alive in the NFC West. It is important for the Raiders to stay focused and play well in all phases of the game. If the Raiders pressure Alex Smith the way they did Philip Rivers, Smith is bound to make a crucial mistake in an important situation. The Raiders offense proved that they can score some points in clutch situations against a good defense and that offensive play should carry over into San Francisco.

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If the Raiders win this Sunday, they will be at an even 3-3 and in second place in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers rank 21st against the pass, so the Raider passing game should find windows for their young receivers. The Raiders should get tight end Zach Miller involved early and often. The talented right end is having yet another solid season.

Whether it is Gradkowski or Campbell, the passing game will be an important factor in this game, which will lead to a successful running game. If Darren McFadden is active against the 49ers, his explosiveness will be overwhelming for the 49ers defense, both on the ground and through the air.

Backup running back Michael Bush ran hard in Week Five, and if the passing game is successful, it will open up plenty of holes for him.

Look for the Raiders to win a close one in San Francisco in Week Six.

Prediction

Raiders 23, 49ers 17

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