Well, here we are at 4-2, right behind the Chargers in the standings at 4-1. Before the Campbell injury, I would have said the division would have come down to the two of us and it would be about a 50-50 chance to win it. A lot has changed since that point. Campbell is out for a minimum of 6 weeks, and possibly for the season. The recovery timeframe is no longer a story because we dealt for Carson Palmer and he's here to stay.
I, for one, am a huge fan of the move. For the big arm Campbell had, his deep ball accuracy was hideous at times. How many times have you seen Campbell go deep, and you held your breath hoping for the big play, and the pass landed 10 yards out of bounds, giving the receiver no chance to make the play. Carson Palmer is one of the best in the league at throwing deep balls accurately. I think our long term outlook just got a heck of a lot better with Palmer on our side.
However, it isn't the long term that I'm looking at. Its this season. Both the Raiders and the Chargers have murderous schedules ahead. We both have to play the Packers, Lions, and Bears, as well as each other twice.Those 5 games are easily the toughest games left on the Raiders schedule. The Chargers also gotta play Baltimore, the Bills, and the Jets in the meantime. I still think every one of these "easy" games like we have against the Chiefs, Broncos, or Dolphins are absolute MUST wins. If we have these tough games ahead that we may or may not win, we surely better win the gimme games.
This week's game was penciled in as a W weeks ago. At home against the Chiefs minus Berry and Charles. But now we have QB uncertainty. If Boller starts, they will stack the box and force Boller to complete passes down the field, which I do not want to see. I think Palmer, even with limited time to prepare, is the better choice. Even then, if his rust plays a huge role and he ends up throwing a pick or two, it could cost us the game. We need to rely heavily on our run game, and I mean heavily. We also must get to Cassell like we did last year in week 17. If we give him time, Dwayne Bowe could be a serious pain, as his size and run after the catch ability is not something I want our secondary to be dealing with. If we can get Cassell out of his comfort zone early, and can jump on an early lead, we can just sit back and watch our running backs do work.
Otherwise, we are in for a tough game with a shaky quarterback situation. If we lose this game to the Chiefs, and the Chargers beat the suddenly unimpressive Jets, we'll be 4-3 headed into a bye with the Chargers sitting comfy at 5-1. This game looks easy on paper, but its importance cannot be understressed.I think once we have our bye and face the Broncos, Palmer will be in synch and we will see the true potential of our offense. Until then, lets just win the game at hand. Is anybody else worried? Or is it just me?