I see a lot of bold predictions floating around the Twitterverse this morning, mostly from Raider Nation and Bengals fans. It appears as though either Carson Palmer or Andy Dalton will throw for 400+ yards, four TDs – that’s assuming that no defense shows up at all today in Cincinnati. Today will be interesting to say the least: Carson Palmer returns to the team he was traded from over a year ago, to take on a man who took a chance and brought him to Oakland in former Raiders HC, Hue Jackson, now a defensive assistant for the Bengals.
RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring)
DE Jack Crawford (toe), RB Taiwan Jones (ankle)
SS Tyvon Branch (neck), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder) RB Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadricep)
Also note that LB Kaelin Burnett was activated to the 53-man roster from the practice squad yesterday in lieu of ex-LB Aaron Curry being sent packing earlier this week. It will be interesting to see what Burnett can bring to the table today. And am I surprised at who is sitting out today? The same three as the last few weeks in McFadden, Goodson and Seymour. It’s unfortunate that the leader of the defense and a presence like Seymour has to miss yet another game, but he isn’t getting any younger and these things take a longer time to heal. I do not for a second believe that Seymour will be playing again in Oakland next year for this reason alone.
- As much pressure as possible needs to be placed on Bengals QB Andy Dalton. In only his second year in the league, he’s still a little too big for his britches – the Raiders have an opportunity to force him into making mistakes. An interesting match-up to look out for will be rookie Raiders LB Miles Burris vs. Dalton; let’s see if the kid can bring it to the table today on the road.
Control Bengals’ power LB Rey Maualuga and protect Carson Palmer like your lives depend on it, otherwise this O will go nowhere yet again this week.
- Play tight man-to-man with TE Jermaine Gresham, who has been on a roll this last couple of weeks. I think that S Michael Huff will be able to strive here if anywhere.
- Shut down star WR A.J.Green somehow, some way. The corners will have to be on this guy like white on rice or the game will be over before it even starts! The Raiders will need to take away that option with a double-team here and there, I expect.
- Hopefully HC Dennis Allen can create some even match-ups today, because if I see Huff covering Green instead of the Gresham on the opposing team one more time, I will lose it. He isn’t and will never be fast enough to keep up with guys like that.
Just what does Coach Allen think about today’s challenge at hand?
The two teams first met in 1968 and have faced off 26 times in the regular season with the Raiders holding a commanding 18-8 all-time series lead. The Raiders beat the Bengals in the 1990 AFC Divisional game to advance to the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. The last time the two teams met in 2009, Palmer was the Bengals quarterback, but the Raiders came out with a 20-17 win at home.
Heading into Cincinnati to face a .500 team, the Raiders know they will be challenged by the Bengals who have won their last two games. “It’s a huge challenge,” said Head Coach Dennis Allen. “I think offensively they have some weapons. The wide receiver A.J. Green is an outstanding talent. The tight end [Jermaine] Gresham is a heck of a ball player. They’re able to run the football. [QB] Andy Dalton I think is really improved. As he’s gotten into the second year of his career, he’s gotten a lot better. Defensively, they’re very active, very fast, outstanding front four, which gets after the quarterback. So they’re a well-rounded team. They were a playoff team last year and there’s a reason why they were a playoff team last year.”
Coach Allen understands the importance of getting a win this week. “That would help tremendously,” said Coach Allen. “This league is a lot about what have you done for me lately. A win makes everybody feel better. Listen, we’re working hard to try and win football games and as long as the guys are working, we’re going to get things turned around.”
Read the rest of Rebecca Corman’s game preview on the team’s official website here.
Well, Raiders fans – at this point all we can do is sit back, have alcohol in some form ready at a moment’s notice, cross our fingers, and hope that a passionate Raiders team shows up to play today. Also, I’m sure it will bring on some horrible memories either way, with Hue Jackson standing in that sea of orange on the opposite sidelines – it makes me sick to even see a picture of him anymore, knowing he was responsible for trading the Raiders future away. Not that I don’t love Carson Palmer, I have just always believed that he offered the kingdom for a guy who won’t be with us as long as he needs to be to make those draft choices we gave up worth it.
My heart hasn’t had to skip a few beats because of an extraordinarily close game in a while, so I wouldn’t mind that experience to change things up a bit.
LET’S DO IT, RAIDERS!