And so we meet again..
Frankly, Raider Nation doesn’t have a lot to be excited about lately and I’m sure that we shouldn’t they feel overly confident or optimistic for this game tonight on Thursday Night Football. The consensus among the fan base on Twitter seems to be that fans would be satisfied with a close game, giving what seems to be the unstoppable Broncos a go; that is what a division rivalry game should be all about, after all. It’s always a war when the Raiders go head-to-head with the Broncos, it doesn’t matter if the game is in Oakland or Denver – I can already smell lingering hatred in the air!
As per CSN Bay Area and as per usual, this is tonight’s game status:
DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring).
CB/PR Phillip Adams (concussion), DE Jack Crawford (toe).
RT Khalif Barnes (triceps), SS Tyvon Branch (neck), WR Juron Criner (shoulder), S Matt Giordano (concussion), RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), S Mike Mitchell (concussion), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), QB Carson Palmer (right thumb), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadriceps).
This has to be the best status report that the Oakland Raiders have seen in quite some time. With RBs McFadden and Goodson both on the probable list, it’s can’t be anything but a better sign – the Raiders will need all the help they can get in tonight’s match-up. Now if OC Greg Knapp could now find a way to operate this offense at full potential, the Raiders may have a fighting chance.
In my opinion, the Oakland defense is going to have the hardest test tonight; stopping or at least getting to Peyton Manning, controlling the receivers and covering one of Manning’s favourite targets in TE Jacob Tamme like ugly on a bear. All aspects of this team (O, D, ST) will have to be on high alert and will have to exploit any momentum the Broncos muster up.
Bring The House
- Raiders fans, and I’m sure the entire organization, have been awaiting McFadden’s (hopefully triumphant) return. Although the first half of the season when he was active was lackluster to say the least, Knapp will have to find a way to set McFadden free on the football field. I know that even while McFadden has been out with a high-ankle sprain he has been itching for a long run; the Raiders will have to create opportunities for this to be successful tonight. Incorporating the shorter-gain specialist in Mike Goodson give the run game a new dimension and will also take a lot of the pressure off of FB Marcel Reece, who has been trying to picking up the slack the last four weeks.
- Somebody get WR Denarius Moore some stick’em, because he’s going to need it tonight! Lately it seems as though we’ve been watching Moore drop some perfect passes and in a game like this, the Raiders offense will need every yard they can possibly get. Convert on third down, keep the drive alive and keep CB Chump, hrm… Champ Bailey’s head on a swivel – he makes more mistakes when he’s confused. I’d like to see Carson Palmer go with the no huddle a lot tonight, which is something Peyton Manning has mastered – what do they really have to lose?
- With Denver RB Willis McGahee on the IR, shutting down their run game should be a bit easier. I’m hoping that the Raiders don’t take Moreno lightly as they have before in the past. Oakland did a satisfactory job controlling rookie RB Trent Richardson on Sunday.
- Play with emotion and desperation at all times. The Raiders’ head coach, Dennis Allen, just returned to Oakland last night after having said goodbye to his father who had passed – it’s time for the Raiders to get that moral victory of the season. Play for Allen if not themselves.
- With 14 receptions last week, TE Brandon Myers has been on a roll and has played a bigger part with the Raiders this year than ever before. Between him and rookie WR Rod Streater, I’m not sure who I’d like to see more of – I just know that they need to be used. Carson Palmer has a bad habit of going to the well too often and running it dry (dry as in the INTs he usually throws in close game situations, in the fourth quarter no less) – explore all options and stop throwing into double coverage if you don’t have to, Carson!
Get loud and stay proud tonight in the Black Hole, Raider Nation! Over the past few home games I’ve noticed that the Silver & Black on both sides of the ball respond when you do. If the Raiders can hang around with the AFC West champion Donkeys and keep it interesting even in the slightest, that’s all we can ask for as a fan base for a team that’s lost five in a row.