Key matchups: Raiders vs Buccaneers

Adam Bettcher

It is fitting that we examine the match-ups for these two teams because they match up pretty well overall. But here are the match-ups inside the match-up.

Miles Burris vs Josh Freeman

One major area in which the Raiders continue to struggle is protecting against the quarterback scramble. Even in their wins, the Raiders have been burnt by long runs by the quarterback. The times last week that Matt Cassel was stopped short were mostly by Burris. The rookie linebacker will have his work cut out for him keeping Freeman under wraps. He is very mobile and can throw well on the run. So Burris must not only guard against a run but chase him down to disrupt the pass. Disguising blitzes well can help in that effort considerably.

Michael Huff vs Vincent Jackson

Huff has been playing like the Raiders' best cornerback despite his actually being a free safety by trade. Vincent Jackson is the Buccaneers best receiver. The two know each other quite well from playing across enemy lines twice a season for six years while Jackson was with the Chargers. The Buccaneers will undoubtedly test out the converted free safety and hope to take advantage of him. Huff will try to continue to prove he is up to the task. He will need to be or the Buccaneers will get big plays all day.

Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly vs Patchwork interior line

The Buccaneer line is in shambles right now. They just placed All Pro left guard, Carl Nicks, on the injured reserve and it is uncertain who will be replacing him. They had already lost starting right guard Davin Joseph before the season even started. They have done well with the run game despite the loss of Joseph but the loss of Nicks is much more problematic. There are a few possible replacements for Nicks which is to say there is no one worth mentioning. There is no reason why Seymour or Kelly should not dominate this offensive line. Their play will be key to whether Doug Martin is able to run on this team. They have played well the past few weeks and will need to continue to do so to keep the dynamic Martin from gouging the Raiders.

Denarius Moore vs Eric Wright

Denarius has not been quite himself of late. He is still not back to full speed since he had his hamstring issues. Eric Wright has issues of his own. His Achilles has been hurt. He is the Bucs best corner and is still not that great. The Buccaneers have the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL this season. Wright will be trying to keep Moore from catching a touchdown pass in his fourth consecutive game. The Raiders will need Moore to keep that streak going.

Carson Palmer vs Ronde Barber

Barber is getting up there in years but he's still got it. He leads the Buccaneers with three interceptions. Palmer will need to be overtly aware of where Barber is on the field at all times. As I have mentioned, the Buccaneers pass defense is next to worst in the league but Barber is opportunistic. Palmer will be looking for his receivers to get separation from their defenders but if he stares them down or doesn't look off Barber, he will make him pay. Stanford Routt picked off Palmer on the first play last week because Palmer threw at him regardless of coverage. The Raiders got away with it because the Chiefs offense couldn't capitalize. The Buccaneers are not such pushovers. And of course, it may not only result in just an interception. It could be a pick six as it was at the end of the Falcons game in week 5 or a Raider receiver getting laid out as happened to Darrius Heyward-Bey in week three against the Steelers. He can't allow any of those to happen if the Raiders are to win this game.

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