The Raiders offense was made one dimensional against the Chargers last week. Although some would argue that it was one dimensional to start out with. They will meet up with a Dolphins defense that may try to do the same thing after seeing the success the Chargers had.
Miami's biggest weakness is their secondary and their biggest strength is their run defense. Here is what Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp had to say about the Dolphins run defense:
"Even the last three years with different staffs they've been in the top five, I believe, in rush defense," said Knapp. "We do have our work cut out this week with the run game. We certainly believe in what we do in the run game ...It's going to be a tough challenge; there's no doubt about it. Those guys they have up front, Cameron Wake... Paul Soliai, very tough inside. They've always been very stout in the run game."
It will be the Raiders' number one priority to limit the effectiveness of the Dolphins run defense. So we will start there.
Khalif Barnes vs Cameron Wake
This one is very scary. Barnes gave up a sack and a pressure that resulted in a sack last week to Shaun Phillips. Cameron Wake is a far better pass rusher than Phillips. Wake is one of the best in the NFL at pass rushing. He had 8.5 sacks last season and 14.0 sacks in 2010. Barnes will have to step up his game to keep Wake out of the Raiders backfield. Wake was held without a sack last season but as you can tell by the picture above, he still got pressure on Palmer. I would not be shocked if we see the Raiders keep a tight end in there to help Barnes block in this instance.
It will be Wisniewski's first game back since last season unless you count the one series he played in the preseason. And in his first game back, he has a big test on his hands. Sure Paul Soliai is a force but it is Starks who Wisniewski will have to keep out of the Raiders backfield. He had two sacks last week against the Texans along with six tackles. The Raiders offensive line had difficulty giving Carson Palmer a pocket in which to throw and Starks is far more formidable in getting to the quarterback than the Chargers interior defensive line. Darren McFadden couldn't get any room to run either and Wisniewski is a better run blocker than Alex Parsons.
Darren McFadden vs Karlos Dansby
The Chargers left the middle of the field open a great deal and McFadden was able to get 13 catches out of it. On the flipside, they held him to just 32 rushing yards on 15 carries. Nearly every tackle made on McFadden runs was either a linebacker or a safety. As the Dolphins middle linebacker, Dansby will be seeing to it that McFadden is stopped in his tracks. The Dolphins were able to hold Arian Foster to 3.0 yards per carry in last week's game. Although Foster was able to score two touchdowns, one on a 14 yard run. Dansby had nine tackles in the game- seven of them were Foster runs. Foster averaged 2.1 yards per carry on those runs. So you can see where his focus is going to be.