The season must go on after the setback against Pittsburgh last week, and Oakland gets a rather nice team to bounce back against this week in Miami (5-5). The mojo of the three game win streak was lost over the bye week, and that was confirmed by the beat-down against the Steelers. Here is my view on what to expect this weekend as we head into crunch time in week 12 of this season.
Coach Tom Cable has already said that JaMarcus Campbell will be the starting quarterback this week, and my heart sinks at the thought of it. I look for Hugh Jackson to dial up a gameplan that will allow Darren “Run DMC” McFadden to run wild against the 20th ranked Miami run defense, that is giving up over 115 yards a game. If McFadden and Michael Bush can pile up the yards on the ground, they just may save another game for this offense that struggles passing the ball when Campbell is in at quarterback.
Defensively, I don’t think losing Trevor Scott will hurt as much as some say it will. Our defensive line is extremely deep, and with Matt Shaughnessy stepping in as the replacement for Scott, the defensive line gets better in my mind. We also get a boost by getting Nnamdi back after the high-ankle sprain 3 weeks ago. Barring any setback before the game Sunday, word is that Nnamdi is playing. I like the matchup of our defense against their quarterback-less offense, and I think their play will go a long way in winning this game.
In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised for the “Brruuuucccce” chant to overtake the Coliseum and get the early hook for Campbell, maybe at half time. I see him on a short leash, and it is rightfully so. I look for Oakland to bounce back big against Miami and take this game.
Oakland, 27 – 14
The Rest of the AFC West
A relatively novel idea of this Oakland season is that what else is going on in the league and in our division is till relevant, even this late in the year. I couldn’t be more enthused to write that previous statement. The division leader Kansas City Chiefs(6-4) travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks (5-5), who are 3-1 at home this year. Unfortunately, I don’t see us getting any help from Seattle as my money is on Kansas City.
Kansas City, 24 – 17
On a better note, the surging-as-usual late season San Diego Chargers (5-5) are traveling to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts lost a tough one to the Patriots last week and lucky for us, I don’t expect Peyton Manning to let that happen again. Philip Rivers and the Chargers have been on a warpath of late, but I look for the Colts to shut them down this week and keep them under .500 for the season and out of the top position in the west.
Indianapolis, 31 – 27
At this point, the Denver Broncos (3-7) are dead last in the division and sinking fast. Even if they manage to beat the St. Louis Rams in Denver, they are still not worthy of talking about yet. Sorry Donkeys.
St. Louis, 24 – 20
If my predictions are correct, Oakland should move into sole possession of second place in the West. Let’s see which version of this years Raiders show up this week – either the Bronco smashing new version, or the roll over and die version of the past seven years. Bring on the ‘Phins.