Last year the Raiders entered into a contest with the Denver Broncos with third string thrower Charlie Frye at quarterback. Frye would eventually give way to JaMarcus Russell who actually led the Raiders to a dramatic victory on a late drive in the fourth quarter.
Can lighting strike twice?
Going into Sunday’s game in Denver the Raiders look like they’ll be trotting out third a stringer once again in Kyle Boller. If history repeats itself then Jason Cambell had better be ready to go.
Two years running and the Raiders are a perfect 2-0 in the Mile High City. If that streak is going to hit three then the secondary will play a large role. Usually the strength of this team, the Raiders have been burned in the passing game lately.
Chalk some of that up to the newfound use of a zone defense that has been picked apart for big gains the last two games. The rest can be attributed to a lackluster pass rush.
Nnamdi Asomugha will be up against Brandon Lloyd who is enjoying a breakout year catching passes from Kyle Orton. The pass happy Broncos will run to keep the Raiders honest but make no mistake Josh McDaniels prefers to air it out.
Offensively, the Silver and Black are struggling. There is still no word on who will be calling signals to open the game which means another week of uncertainty. Just as this offense was getting itself into a respectable standing, Jason Campbell and his QB rating of 10 happened. Now, Hue Jackson is back to square one as he takes the blame for his backsliding unit.
Getting a healthy Darren McFadden back is key to reigniting the offense. But it doesn’t matter who is carrying the rock if the O-line isn’t keeping the proper pad level. Tom Cable was critical of his linemen for their poor performance in The City last week. Having settled on Jared Veldheer as the full-time left tackle, Cable is gambling on the rookie to become everything Mario Henderson hasn’t been.
These AFC West rivalry games are becoming more and more important with each passing week. A wide open division means every game matters. Despite the losing record, the Raiders are still very much in the hunt and a win in Denver could considerably boost any playoff prospects that remain.
In vintage Raider fashion, this is going to have to be a gutsy performance that may not be pretty but will hardly matter if Cable leaves with his third W in as many tries in Donkey Town.
Once again the Raiders are an underdog on the road but we all know that cardinal rule of roulette. Always bet on black, baby!