When you search for a needle in a haystack, you have a chance to eventually find the needle. You have one thing you are looking for (the needle), and only one place to look for it(the haystack).
The Oakland Raiders are looking for that needle, but unfortunately, they are looking for the needle, thread, bobbin, plus the tape measure, and chalk wheel. The Raiders search has not delivered on many occasions and left fans and foes to question the proud franchise.
When someone is down it’s easy to point out all the flaws they expose, all the risk they take, the failures and to remind them “I told you so” as well as the things they can’t do! Let’s look at the Raiders a little differently, and see what they can do, and how to build on it.
The passing game for the Raiders has been outstanding. Carson Palmer has delivered on throwing the ball, and completing passes. Palmer is third in the NFL in passing yardage with 2723. His average per game passing is 303 yards to settle in third place in the NFL. The Raiders have the third leading passer in the league, this is a good thing.
Now with that, Palmer has been sacked 17 times on the year. You would think that is a lot but you look at other teams (winning teams) and their QB’s account for more sacks on the year than Palmer. Aaron Rogers, Green Bay: 29, Jay Cutler, Chicago: 28, Alex Smith, San Francisco: 24 sacks on the year.
Denarius Moore has been a bright spot for the Raiders at receiver. He is the only receiver in the top 40 in the NFL. He currently has 575 yards on the year. His longest catch is for 58 yards and he has over 10 catch of 20+ yards. He has worked his way into a positive role for the Raiders scoring five TD’s on the year.
What can be said of the offensive line is it is constantly inconsistent. Zero penetration one play then on the next play, the gate to allow the roman legions has been opened. Pass protection can always improve – you don’t want your quarterback to take a hit, and you would like him to step up in the pocket to throw.
Palmer has been able to throw, and he has great numbers. What the numbers do not tell you is he has been harassed in the pocket, forced to bootleg to get more time on his throws (and he’s not the nimblest QB in the NFL). He has been hit, knocked down, harassed, but he gets the job done. The offensive line is getting the job done, but at a low standard.
The kicking game has been consistent all year. Sebastian Janikowski is 21/22 on the year putting him at 95.5%. That’s an A in anyone’s grade book. His longest field goal is at 52 yards and his longest attempt is from Mars. He has kept the Raiders in games but you need touchdowns to win.
Shane Lechler continues to flip the field on opponent’s offenses. Lechler has punted 47 times on the year carrying a 48.7 average. His longest on the year was 68 yards. The hang time has to be measured with a sun dial.
Defensive backs making tackles at the line of scrimmage is a good thing now and then. Having members of your secondary in the top 5 tacklers on your team is a problem. Phillip Wheeler, and Miles Burris have been very good additions for the Raider defense. The defensive front has made some noise but is a little to quiet in the six losses the Raiders have experienced this season. They play hard, they add confusion to the opponents QB by getting pressure in the backfield.
In the last six games the Raiders have lost, opponents have scored 214 points, averaging 35.4 points in a loss. In the last two losses, 92 points have been put up on the scoreboard against the Raiders.
The Saints roll into Oakland a heavy favorite after beating Atlanta last week. What you may not know is New Orleans hasn’t stopped any team this season. They are ahead of the Raiders in passing yardage they are second in the NFL averaging 303 yards per game. They are ranked 28th in rushing yardage with 88.4 per game, and Carson Palmer has to be excited as the Saints defense gives up 307.3 yards a game while allowing 162 yards rushing per contest. This could be the break out game for the Raiders running attack.
This game unbelievably is a golden opportunity for the Raiders to gain a victory. Both teams are struggling.New Orleans has found a way to win one more game than the Black and Silver. The Saints have to travel to Oakland, and play outside.
The Raiders can take a giant step forward in attaining a victory this Sunday over the Saints, and hopefully find that needle in the haystack.
Promote what you love, Instead of bashing what you hate. Just Win Baby!