Greetings, Nation. Between all the arguing going on back and forth between fans over who should start and what to make of the blow out and all the smack-talking back and forth whether or not Dick was justified in knocking Ben on his ass made our perceptions cloudy. Even though this team put on arguably the worst performance of the weekend there were a couple of positives to come out of this. Big Dick is not going to be suspended and we already had our bye so the team can immediately start preparing for the Fins game. Seeing the Dolts' destruction of the Donks made things clear. They aren't going anywhere and our Raiders need to focus on this upcoming week as a make or break situation. I will say this only once, thank you SD. We have a very talented team coming in this week and I think a break down is in order.
The Fins were considered one of the better running teams in recent years until this off-season when they acquired Brandon Marshall from Denver. They are now averaging over 230 yards passing per game and the duo of Marshall and Brian Hartline have combined for 97 receptions and 1233 yards this year. I would like to compare that to our team's starting WRs but that wouldn't be nice and I'm a Raider fan. The running game's decrease in production may be attributed to this however it may be mostly because Ronnie Brown has been having a sub-par year. He is averaging a mediocre 3.9 ypc however is still capable of breaking a big one as his long this year is 51 yards. The team is converting on 43% of their 3rd downs which is 7th best in the league despite all their QB and offensive line issues. What makes that stat so impressive is in their 16-0 defeat last Thursday, they only converted once against the Bears. As for the QB situation, while many of us are hoping to see Tyler Thigpen instead of Chad Henne keep in mind he did beat us as a member of the Chiefs a few years ago. The offensive line has been decimated by injury and Jake Long may be done for the year with a shoulder injury. However in spite of that they have only given up 19 sacks all year which is 18.4 attempts between sacks. Compare that to our relatively healthy offensive line giving up 29 sacks and 10.9 attempts between sacks. That is tough to stomach.
On defense the Dolphins are led by the AFC's leading sack man, Cameron Wake at 9.5 sacks and two fumbles forced. As a team they have 26 total sacks. The running defense is ranked 20th overall giving up an average of 112.7 ypg but do not think this is a mismatch by any stretch. They only give up a very respectable 3.9 ypc. Since it is almost certain Jason Campbell is starting, Hue and the rest of the staff must figure out better ways of opening up running lanes and protecting Jason. A scary stat I noticed is Oakland has 25 fumbles on the year through 10 games however has only lost 5. That is very fortunate. We must protect the ball better as a team.
The kickoff specialist for the Dolphins is Nolan Carroll averaging a healthy 25.5 yds per return and Davone Bess is averaging 10.5 yds per punt return. What makes the punt return number just as impressive is that Bess is the team's 2nd leading receiver with 49 receptions. With that said I believe Oakland does hold the edge in the field position battle since Brandon Fields is averaging a very mediocre 41.3 yards per punt and has only 1 punt downed inside the 20 with 19 touchbacks. Also did I forget to mention he has 2 punts blocked as well? Hiram Eugene and Rock Cartwright must be licking their chops studying the game film.
OVERALL AND MY PREDICTION
The turnover situation is pretty even as Oakland has -1 and the Dolphins are -5. Hopefully the home crowd will be enough of an advantage to help Oakland force some turnovers and get a lot of sacks against a depleted line that was man-handled by the Bears last week. My prediction which may change later this week is a very close score but the game is never in question after the play calling gets it's rhythm going. I predict Raiders get back to their winning ways, 21-13. Let me know what other concerns or match ups you are looking forward to seeing this Sunday.