It has been raining all morning in Oakland and the field is quite soggy. There are moments in which the sun has crept out but the clouds still loom do the rain could return at any time.
The last time the Raiders saw the Browns on their field was last season in the first home game after the death of Al Davis. That was the day "The fire that burns brighgest" was introduced lit by John Madden. It was an emotional victory for the Raiders with all on staff wearling AL shield T-shirts and the players with the same decal on their helmets.
This game won't have the same emotion. In fact, the game did not sell out. It's the first local blackout since the 2010 season for the Raiders. Being a 3-8 team facing a 3-8, non-divisional opponent on a damp day will do that.
Despite practicing this week for the first time, both running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are inactive for the game. That means Marcel Reece will get his fourth straight start for the Raiders. Taking over as the starting fullback in his place in Owen Schmitt.
Omar Gaither gets his first start at middle linebacker in place of Rolando McClain who is serving the first of two suspended games. The Raiders are hoping Gaither is the answer at middle linebacker and they can successfully move on from the troubled, underachieving McClain. At practice on Friday, Mike Mitchell spoke glowing of his new defensive field general.
"It's refreshing," said Mitchell of Gaither. "It's awesome to have a veteran step in. He communicates great, he's lively at practice. I couldn't think of a guy that's fresh off the street that's doing better than what he's doing for us right now. It's really a breath of fresh air and love having him."
McClain was placed on the reserve/suspended list which opened a roster spot. The Raiders didn't fill that spot on the roster which allowed them to activate Terrelle Pryor for the game. Although both Dennis Allen and Pryor said Friday that there have been no special plays put in place to get him in the game.
Browns receiver and return specialist, Josh Cribbs, was limited in practice and questionable for the game with a shoulder/chest injury but he is active.
The Raiders would seem to have a very good chance to win this game. They would need to pull it out to stop their four game losing streak.