Thearon W. Henderson
Game on. Chat with your fellow Raider fans here for the first half of the Raiders vs Buccaneers game today.
This is a huge game for the Raiders. While every game is important, this one is truly pivotal. If they win, it means 4-4 and tied for second place in the AFC West. If they lose it means 3-5 and they would have to finish the season with a 6-2 record if they hope to have a shot at the wildcard. That is a tall order.
The Raiders have won two in a row but those wins were against the two worst teams in the NFL. They are looking to prove they are for real by beating a good team in the Buccaneers.
The Raiders suddenly stout run defense will have another tough test in rookie phenom running back Doug Martin. The pass defense will look to show that their play in the last three games wasn't a fluke as they will face two very good receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Not to mention a pretty good quarterback throwing the ball instead of the likes of Blaine Gabbert, Brady Quinn, and Matt Cassel. They performed well against Matt Ryan three weeks ago so they will be out to prove that was not the exception but the norm.
For the Raiders offense, Darren McFadden will try to put two good games together. The offensive line and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp seemed to have found a nice mix of power and zone blocking near the end of last week's win in Kansas City. If they can keep up that momentum, McFadden may be able to get back on track.
Carson Palmer should have a good day. The Buccaneers have the 31 ranked pass defense and the only possible reason he wouldn't take advantage of it is if his protection breaks down and causes turnovers. He is looking to continue is Raider record streak of 13 straight games of over 200 yards passing.