Regular Season Week 14
Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders
Where: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
When: 1:05 p.m. PDT
2009 Records: Redskins (3-9) Raiders (4-8)
History: Oakland has a 7-3 lead in its all-time regular season series
Television: Fox; Blacked out locally; DirecTV: 715
Line: Redskins by 1 point
Game Day Injury Report:
Oakland Raiders Desmond Bryant DT Probable Back Samson Satele C Questionable Calf Greg Ellis DE Questionable Knee Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Doubtful Foot Nick Miller WR Out Shin Robert Gallery G Out Back Jon Alston LB IR Concussion Ricky Brown LB IR Ankle Oren O'Neal RB IR Ankle
Redskins Injuries here.
SB Nation Redskins vs Raiders Preview here.
Well Raiders fans, it's week 14 of the NFL regular season and the Raiders find themselves with a 4-8 record and in a familiar position as they were three previous times this season. Three times this season the Raiders provided their fans with exhilarating upset victories over the Eagles, Bengals and the Steelers respectively, only to then follow up the next week, despite a boatload of confidence, with flat performances and disappointing losses. The Raiders to a player, including Tyvon Branch, who has been asked after each victory by SABP about maintaining the momentum week-to-week, are acutely aware of their propensity of failing to bring the necessary game in the follow up week against very beatable opponents. Today is another test against the Redskins, following maybe the best Raiders win in the last 6 years last week in upsetting the Steelers in Pittsburgh 27-24. The Raiders say they have learned from their past and will be prepared to end this Sunday with back-to-back wins for the first time this season:
"It’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel around here for a while, is you win one and then a total letdown," said punter Shane Lechler(notes), one of the only players remaining from Oakland’s AFC championship team in 2002. "We’re trying to figure out that process of how to win two, put two together and get something going here a little bit."
To that end, coach Tom Cable had signs plastered all around the locker room proclaiming Sunday as the day the Raiders finally break through. "Back-to-back wins set Raiders on path to future success! If you believe it, it will happen," the signs concluded.
The Redskins are coming in with a 3-9 record, but that record is deceiving as last week the Redskins lost to the undefeated Saints 33-30 in overtime and have now lost three straight games by a combined total of just seven points. Washington has played six games (2-4 record) decided by three points or less this season.
For the Raiders, QB Bruce Gradkowski will be making his 4th start, much to the relief of Raider Nation. Bruce Almighty will have to deal with his patchwork offensive line after Oakland lost LG Robert Gallery for the season to a back injury. The Redskins defensive line is good, as is their overall defense, but without Albert Haynesworth, who is out of this game, the Raiders should be in a better position to run the ball with some success. Hopefully, the Raiders have finally realized they way to utilize McFadden and won't even bother trying to run him between the tackles. The Raiders will pound it with Justin Fargas, who is playing with his typical crash dummy style, but this is a game that Michael Bush must be used. With the recent success of Fargas, Bush has hardly even seen the field. This must change today and the Raiders must find ways to use the talents of all their running backs. With the running game going, then Gradkowski can then pick his spots and take to the air. Gradkowski should be able to look to the middle of the field as Washington FS LaRon Landry was torched twice for long touchdowns by the Saints when he bit on double moves. The strength of the Redskins' secondary is at cornerback and their safeties are more adept at defending the run than they are in coverage. The Raiders, with Schilens and Murphy on the perimeter will likely take some shots down the middle along with a targeting Zach Miller, who will have a match-up advantage against MLB London Fletcher, who at 5-foot-10 he is going to have a serious size disadvantage.
The Raiders defense will have to contend with the ever improving QB Jason Campbell, who, without RB Clinton Portis, lack star power in their backfield. The Redskins named this week Quintan Ganther to be their starting running back, so if the raiders can hold him in check early, they will be able to get their pass rush going and keep the pressure on Campbell. With
Charles Haley Trevor Scott having a major impact now that he's been switched to the starting weak side OLB spot, look for Scott to be a menace to Campbell. However, Campbell certainly watch the film of what Big Ben did against the Raiders secondary in the 4th quarter last week, so look for Campbell to exploit the holes in the Raiders secondary (Chris Johnson/Stanford Routt) with Santana Moss. Unfortunately, the Raiders won't let Nnamdi stick to Moss like glue, so Moss will avoid Nnamdi as much as possible. Moss is an explosive receiver who leads the Redskins in receptions as well as receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He runs good routes and has an explosive burst out of his break that allows him to gain a step on the best cover corners.
With both defenses playing well, this could be a low scoring affair, with Lechler "the weapon" dictating field position and Janikowski and his canon left leg being the difference.
Prediction: Raiders 16 - Redskins 13
What are your thoughts and keys to today's game Raider Nation? Do you think the Raiders will finally break through and win back-to-back games for the first time this season? Let's hear your pregame thoughts and predictions.