Game preview: Browns at Raiders

Andy Lyons

At 3-8 the Raiders are not in a good place. This week's opponent the Browns also sit at 3-8 so at least they can relate.

The Browns haven't been winning games either but they have been far more competetive this year than the Raiders. They are coming directly off a big victory against the Steelers where they forced 8 turnovers so they also have momentum on their side.

The scariest aspect of the Browns offense is easily their stud rookie running back Trent Richardson. This guy can do it all and after this mess with his former college teammate Rolando McClain he will be itching to steamroll the Raiders.

Richardson is a nifty runner with good speed and amazing leg strength. The one aspect that he has been surprisingly not as good at is in short yardage where the Browns have struggled this year. When everybody knows your going to run though of course its harder.

The Browns offensive line led by Joe Thomas is one of the best lines in the league. However their strength is definitely more in pass blocking over run blocking. They are good at both but are really excellent at giving their quarterback time to throw.

As far as that quarterback it appears that Brandon Weeden is on pace to start this week after sustaining a concussion last week. The 28 year old rookie has not been great but has not been terrible either.

This actually could be a great match-up for Weeden since the Raiders secondary is not deep enough to handle covering for long periods of time. The Browns are great at giving their QB a lot of time to throw and the Raiders are terrible at getting pressure, not a good combo for Raiders fans.

Hopefully the big events of this week can add a little emotion to the Raiders defense. They have appeared to be just going through the motions too often and maybe there is reason to hope that can change now. Maybe seeing one of their own throw the team under the bus will do something for this team that this 4 game losing streak hasn't.

For the Raiders offense they could get DMC back this week and that would be nice. I hope to see some interesting backfield combinations with Reece and DMC once McFadden returns. Darren is now playing for a roster spot unlike ever before because with his salary and injury history he now must prove he can be productive for Allen or risk an off-season trade. He is not definitely playing this week and even if he does I would expect him to be on a strict play count.

After Palmer was obviously rattled last week in Cincinnati the Raiders will need to see a good bounce back game. Palmer did hurt his thumb at some time last week but hopefully he can work through that. He will be listed on the injury report but I believe he plays. I expect him to play well if he does play.

The Raiders really need to see Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey more in this game because they also were a nonfactor last week. The Raiders now are a passing team and if they want to have any success they need their receivers to show up each week.

An interesting turn of events for this week is the activation of Terrelle Pryor. He is not ready to start yet but it has long been time to give him some package plays. He is a great athlete and the Raiders need to now be more proactive in seeing him in game situations. Hopefully this is the game he is unveiled in.

Considering the performance last week by the Browns with their 8 turnovers its scary to picture what they could do with the struggling Raiders. Joe Haden is their number 1 corner and is a very talented player. While Haden plays the Browns defense performs well so the Raiders must pay attention to who he is covering.

The Raiders need to do something worth watching because this season has been nothing but a complete disaster. Dennis Allen was preaching that this is now the time to consider it a new start. It would be nice to see the team forget the past 4 losses and move on but it seems naive to expect that. I won't expect that but I will still hope for it.

Oakland needs this game just for their own sake in the locker room. If they can begin to play better and finish the season strong maybe not all of this season will have been a waste. Obviously its not been a good season so a good finish would really do wonders for Raider Nation.

Don't forget the game won't be televised locally so if you want to see them buy your Oakland Raiders tickets.

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