Week 11: @ Minnesota; November 20, 10 PST... Minnesota may be 2-6, but they have shown they can play teams tough. They have lost to the Chargers by 7, Bucs by 4, Lions by 3, Chiefs by 5, and Packers by 6. If they can play those teams that tight, they can give us a nail-biter. 'Sota also has the best running back in the league. We really are going to need to key in on stopping AP and make Ponder beat us. Even though our run defense has been suspect at times, we have a full NINE days to prep for this game. On the bright side, the Vikes will only have FIVE days to prep since they will be playing this monday night at Green Bay. Also, Palmer should be able to shred apart their awful secondary. McFadden coming back for this game would be nice, but is sort of not needed because of how great Bush played at SD. The only way we lose is if we come out with a sense of entitlement and Peterson runs for 200+ yards. Not likely.
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Week 12: Chicago; November 27, 1 PST... I'm going to start this off by saying Matt Forte is really good. He's a great runner and can kill teams in the flats with his receiving (our weakness). I was kind of surprised to see that the Bears have only allowed 16 sacks all year (tied for 9th least in the NFL). However, out of those 16 sacks, they have allowed 9 in 3 road games (I'm not counting London as a road game). This makes me believe that Cutler and the O-line can't pick up the blitz in a hostile environment. Chicago's receivers and tight ends don't really scare me either. Defensively, the Bears run D is terrible. They have allowed 5.2 yards per carry (31st in the NFL). Assuming McFadden is healthy by then, Bush and DMAC should run wild. If we don't get to Cutler and stop them on 3rd down, they will control possession, and force us into playing from behind and throwing the football. As great as Carson was Thursday, I would rather play our game and pound the rock. This is a toss-up quite honestly. It really depends on who the Raiders can get healthy, *cough* cornerbacks *cough* McFadden *cough* Ford *cough* (you get the point).
Week 13: @ Miami; December 4, 10 PST... My theory is that once we get to December, the gap of good teams and bad teams widen. The reason for this is simple, the bad teams have nothing to play for, while the good teams are out for blood. The Raiders saw their playoff chances crumble at the Dolphins' hands last season in Oakland, so they will be double motivated on top of this year's playoff implications. Even if the Dolphins beat the Redskins this Sunday and find a way to beat Dallas the next week, I just can't see Matt Moore beating THIS Oakland team. Guys like Richard Seymour, Rolando McClain, and Tyvon Branch will not allow a mediocre QB to beat them. If the Raiders are for real, they will walk into Miami, win by two or three scores, and will hop on a plane to Green Bay. Nuff said.
Week 14: @ Green Bay; December 11, 10 PST... Unlike ALL of ESPN, I am not fully on board the Green Bay Meat-Packers band-wagon. Yes Aaron Rodgers is a beast, however look at the defensive numbers. The Packers have allowed the 3rd most YPG (400) in the league while being on the field for the 6th least amount of time. The equation for success is simple (but hard). If we can keep their D on the field longer than they are used to, we should be able to really exploit their defense. This means getting positive yards on 1st and 2nd down in order to make 3rd down easier. Defensively, it is going to be very hard to shut them down. Nearly impossible. Maybe we can get a few lucky turnovers, who knows. Bottom line, our chances aren't great, maybe 5%. If we dominate the ball and tire them out, we increase our chances substantially.
As much as I would like to, I don't want to predict too far ahead because so much can change. In this four game stretch if we can finish 2-2 I would be content. The main reason for that is because I see KC going 1-4 in this time (DEN, NE, PIT, CHI, NYJ), and SD going 2-2 (CHI, DEN, JAC, BUF). Let's go RAIDERS!