Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings: Game Day Open Thread


The Oakland Raiders play host to Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, and the Minnesota Vikings today. Coming off last week’s terrible loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders are looking to get back on track and stay in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Vikings at 6-2, are riding a four game winning streak and are looking to stay in first place in the NFC North.

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It’s a game with big implications for both teams.

And just think at the beginning of the season, most of the so-called media “experts” had predicted that the Raiders would be lucky to nab three or four wins this season. Some of the more optimistic ones gave the Raiders a generous 6-10 season.

But the fact that the Raiders are being considered legitimate playoff contenders shows you how the times have changed and that this team is a lot better than anybody had expected them to be.

Of course, there is still a lot of football yet to be played before we can trumpet the return of the Raiders to the postseason dance. There is still much work to be done.

And that work begins today.

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At 4-4, the Raiders may still have an outside shot at an AFC West title. But they’re going to need a lot of help from Peyton Manning and the Broncos – a long losing streak would be very helpful right about now.

Realistically, at this point in time, the Raiders are battling for one of the two wild card slots. And they’re battling with teams like Pittsburgh, the New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills. Four teams, two slots. It’s going to make for an exciting second half of the season.

One of the things the Raiders are going to need to get corrected – and get corrected quickly – is the state of their defense. The secondary in particular, has been gashed week in and week out. The return of safety Nate Allen and Travis Carrie – and moving Carrie back to his natural spot on the corner – will hopefully help stop the continual gush of blood from the beating Oakland’s secondary has been taking all season.

Oakland is also going to need to rediscover their stout run defense. Yeah, it was just one game, but last week’s showing against the Steelers – in which backup running back DeAngelo Williams dissected them for 170 yards was terrible. And beyond comprehension for what was then, the league’s second ranked run defense. They’re not anymore, having dropped all the way down to number seven on the list.

But that task isn’t going to get any easier with the NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, rolling into the O.Co today. They’re going to need to find a way to bottle him up, take away Minnesota’s running attack, and force Teddy Bridgewater and this thirtieth ranked passing offense to make the plays if they want to win.

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Will the defense be able to rediscover it’s form? Will the return of Allen and Carrie breathe life into a secondary that was eviscerated by Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown last week? Will Oakland’s juggernaut of an offense continue to roll? Will Derek Carr be able to pick apart the Vikings’ sixth ranked passing defense like he did to the Jets a few weeks ago? Will Latavius Murray be able to gash Minnesota’s eighteenth ranked run defense? Will Adrian Peterson run all over Oakland’s defense like DeAngelo Williams did last week?

There are plenty of intriguing storylines as the Vikings and the Raiders ready themselves for what is a pretty big game for both clubs. It’s a win the Raiders need to keep pace in the wild card chase.