Any Raider fan under the age of 21 understands a frustration far worse then not being able enjoy a side of beer with their football. No these fans have suffered something far worse. They have watched their beloved silver and black drop season openers one after another. Last year marked the first time the Raiders have won their opening game since 2002. However, the team that currently resides in the Bay does not at all resemble the hopeless sqauds led by the likes of Kerry Collins and Norv Turner. With any luck the Mckenzie/Allen era will begin by driving Norv and his flabby neck back to San Diego where they will join the Chiefs as the other winless team in the west. To do this Palmer and co. must be able to do five crucial things.
5) Stay healthy! The last thing the Raiders need is another injury. Jacoby Ford will most likely end up watching this game from the sideline along with Aaron Curry. As we saw from the 1 win preseason Oakland lacks depth in crucial positions, and everybody who watched the Giants 5th string cornerback get torn apart should know that injuries can determine the outcome of any game.
4) Dennis Allen needs to make the right calls when it matters most! Watching the Saints get beat at home by a rookie quarterback should emphasize how important a coach can be. Between play calling and inspiring players Coach Sean Payton was obviously missed by New Orleans. Dennis Allen will be under a lot of pressure playing at home in front of the ever judgmental Raider Nation, and on Monday Night no less. One bad decision could cost Oakland a win against a division rival, and last years narrow playoff race is a great example of how far one win can go in the west.
3) Darren McFadden needs to do what he does! The explosion of Run DMC is not something new to the Raider Nation. However, it is in my opinion that the rest of the league thinks of McFadden as maybe the 5th best runner in the NFL rather then the clear number 1 he truly is. Expect Mr. Davis to be smiling tonight when McFadden racks up over 150 yards against the hopeless bolts defense.
2) The defense needs to pressure Phillip Rivers! Last years win against San Diego featured Oakland’s massive defensive line playing to their potential. Tonight they must repeat that performance. Crybaby Rivers biggest weakness lies in the fact that he is just that, a crybaby. Rivers is a very talented athlete, but so are tennis players and I bet they wouldnt hit the ball to well if Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour knocked them down after each serve. Dennis Allen knows this so expect to see multiple blitz packages to keep the receivers off the Raider’s weak and brand new secondary.
1) Carson Palmer cannot throw interceptions! This is without a doubt the key of this game. If Carson decides to play like he did in the preseason then this is going to be a long season. One pick is acceptable, but anything more could cost the Raiders the game. Make no mistake the Chargers are not the St. Louis Rams, Palmer cannot afford to go Mathew Stafford and give picks out like the Commissioner gives out fines. Darren McFadden may be the Raiders nuclear war head, but Palmer is the man in charge of launching it. Without Carson the Raiders are left in the hands of a draft bust and a collegiate reject.
This game and this season is not a question of can, but will the Raiders win.
P.S. Fantasy owners look for Rod Streeter and Juron Criner to have big games.