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Oakland Raiders News: The Rumble in Buffalo!!!

This game is looking like a certifiable RUMBLE.

 You have a match-up of two teams that are coming off of horrible 2007 campaigns and each of them is out to prove that they are much improved in 2008.

 In one corner you have the Buffalo Bills who have built their offense around three Bay Area products, Marshawn Lynch (Oakland), Trent Edwards (Los Gatos) and Langston Walker (Oakland).

 Marshawn allows the Bills to be a running team and he also keeps the defense on their toes because he can score on carries and also on receptions out of the backfield. It is no secret around these parts that Marshawn is one of my favorite running backs in football. Being from Oakland, I am a HUGE fan of Marshawn’s, just this week – Not so Much.

 In order to stop Marshawn the Raider defensive line will need to dominate the middle of the line and force him outside. Marshawn is a tough inside runner and if we can string him out and wrap him up he can be contained. With Marshawn, you need to stop that ONE big play where he jukes, dances and then accelerates into the end zone from anywhere on the field.

 Trent Edwards endured a miserable Collegiate career that saw his draft stock slip to #92 overall. Many people, including SBN’s Matt Miller and Oakland Raider Head Coach had him ranked as high as the first round or high second because of his ability to make good reads, get rid of the ball quickly and put the ball on the money. Well, those talents are translating to victories in his first two seasons in Buffalo and a victory tomorrow can put Trent Edwards near the top of the QB heap in the NFL and make some wonder just how good the Raiders would be with Edwards throwing the ball to Calvin Johnson.

 There is really only one way to stop a possession QB who has a quick release, and that is to force him into 2nd and 12’s or 3rd and 10’s by forcing him to pressure him into checking down by bringing heavy pressure and talking his underneath receivers as soon as they catch the ball. Derek Burgess and Kalimba Edwards as well as some well timed LB stunts will be key in doing this. Oh Yeah, starting out the game with 14-21 unanswered points is a good way to make him open up the offense as well.

 Langston Walker looks to have found a home away from home in Buffalo. After playing at home, in Oakland, for the first 5 seasons of his NFL career and enduring the pains of O-Line whipping boy in 2006 he has blossomed in Buffalo and has played BOTH LT and RT this season with outstanding results.

 I am just hoping that for one day he reverts to his old ways and has a couple of false starts, a hold and allows a couple of sacks.

 

 In the other corner you have an Oakland team that is built around a zone blocking rushing offense and a defense that is built to get after the quarterback and take the ball away.

 Last week the Raiders tallied 300 yards on the ground on 47 carries against a Chiefs defense that is definitely missing Jared Allen and got little or nothing from Glen Dorsey.

The Raiders did it by pounding the ball with Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush until the Chief Defense broke. Once they broke through, all of the kings horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

 This Buffalo defense has been another story this season with Marcus Stroud on board they have not been an easy team to run on. They key here will be to keep the game under control enough for the “Humpty Dumpty” game plan to work until Buffalo breaks.

 With McFadden nursing a turf toe this may be hard to achieve. I expect Michael Bush to get most of the carries and that could be a VERY good thing. If he can get 25-30 carries then I expect him to put a pretty good hurtin’ on the Buffalo D.

 With everyone keying on stopping the run, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jamarcus get more chances to go down the field this week.

 On defense this team has been a tale of two teams so far this year. Against Denver they were as bad as could be. They didn’t blitz and were out-schemed as badly as our offense was in 2006.

 Then against Kansas City they played like a dominant defense. They blitzed, stunted and hit the offensive players like a #1 defense. Part of that is because they were playing against Kansas City, but, most of it was a change in philosophy. I don’t know if it was the fact that Kiffin and Ryan FINALLY game-planned together a little or the fact that Ryan just went for broke, but it worked.

 Against Buffalo, this team will need to do the same things. The defensive line has got to get enough pressure to allow our back 7 to be the play-makers that they showed they were last week.

 Huff, Nnamdi, Hall, Morrison and Howard are turnover machines and they will need to produce at least 3 in order to win on Sunday.

 I am looking for Tommy Kelly, Gerard Warren and Terdell Sands to clog the middle and for Burgess and Edwards to get pressure on Edwards from the outside.

 Of course, all of this hinges on whether or not they can stop the run, so stay tuned, in 24 hours the RUMBLE will begin.