Oakland Raiders are coming off a truly devastating loss to the Pittsburgh Ste..."/> Oakland Raiders are coming off a truly devastating loss to the Pittsburgh Ste..."/>

Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Minnesota Vikings

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Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Set The Tone From The Start

The Raiders are going to want to set the tone in this game as early as possible. They’ll want to get Minnesota back on their heels and keep them there. One way to do that is to move the ball and score quickly. Nothing ratchets up the pressure quite like putting the other team in an early hole.

Last week, the offense did a fantastic job of this by taking a whopping three plays to put the ball in the endzone against the Steelers defense. It would really help this team out if they could do something similar against the Vikings.

The best way to go about that is to attack Minnesota’s passing defense. As of now, they’ve got the NFL’s sixth ranked passing defense, allowing a meager 220 yards a game. But when the Raiders faced the Jets, New York had one of the league’s top rated pass defense units and Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, and Amari Cooper were able to obliterate them – going straight at Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie with devastating impact.

The Vikings have a solid pass defense. But the Raiders will need to test it. The Vikings haven’t faced a lot of the NFL’s top passing offenses. They faced San Diego in week three, but aside from the Chargers, they’ve battled the Lions (twice), 49ers, Broncos, Chiefs, Bears, and Rams.

None of those teams are exactly offensive juggernauts.

The Vikings are solid against the pass, but they have weak spots. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes has given up yards and touchdowns by the bushel, so he is a chink in the armor that Carr and the Raiders are going to want to attack – and attack frequently.

OC Bill Musgrave would do well to take a few shots deep just to keep the defense stretched out, but to also dial up some short passes that allow his receivers to run after the catch. Some of Minnesota’s defenders have been susceptible to giving up big chunks of yards on runs after the catch. It’s a weakness that he’s going to want to exploit.

But setting the tone from the start of the game is important. They will want to dictate the pace to Minnesota and take control with a smooth, crisp, and strong offensive showing. Starting fast and putting Minnesota in a hole early will have the added benefit of taking Adrian Peterson out of the game and forcing Teddy Bridgewater to make the plays necessary to win.

Next: Establish The Ground Game