It's Only For First Place!
Tonight's NFL matchup between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers is a welcome break from the Penn State Joe Paterno fiasco. With both AFC west teams at 4-4, this game promises to be a battle to the end.
The winner will take a one game lead in the division while the loser will begin doubting themselves and their chances of making the playoffs. Both teams are attemptiong to end losing streaks and with rejuvenated division rival Kansas City in the conversation at 4-4, losing simply is not an option.
My Raiders, hobbling into this game without starting running back Darren McFadden, will need to pull out every trick in the playbook. The offensive play calling must be fresh and unpredictable. I suspect new Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer will attempt airing it out in San Diego. With Marcel Reese, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and hopefully Tight End Kevin Boss, Palmer has the targets to throw to. The question is will passer and receivers finally synch-up and produce consistently on the field. Let's not forget newly acquired receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It could be a breakout game for Palmer.
The Chargers are as vulnerable on defense as the injury plagued Raiders. Raiders tackling must improve and they must get back to playing as one unit. This is not week 2 in Buffalo, it's show-me week 9 in sunny San Diego. Well, show us!
The Raiders will prevail if the defense plays a full four quarters and can get off the field on third downs and avoid penalties. Special teams must contribute somehow. We need playmakers tonight in all phases of the game. You wanna be a bully and dominate your opponent? Then it starts tonight on national television. Be Somebody! Be Raiders! Just Win Baby!