Enemy on the Plank: Oakland Raiders

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

The Buccaneers get a Super Bowl XXXVII rematch with the Oakland Raiders later today in California, so we sat down with Raiders blogger Chris Shellcroft from Just Blog Baby to discuss the matchup. The Buccaneers and Raiders have met just twice since their Super Bowl showdown with the Raiders getting the best of Tampa in the last two meetings. How will the Raiders fare this time, we as Chris.

1. Obviously the high point of this matchup is it’s a rematch of the 2002 Super Bowl. How sad is it that we are now a decade later and the high point of this matchup is still that Super Bowl? How far of are the Raiders from making this an interesting matchup, because both these teams seem to show flashes and then just crash. 

No secret that the Chucky Bowl was the beginning of the end of the Raiders. Not a winning season since and hardly a sniff of the playoffs. In the early stages of the Dennis Allen era things were looking very bleak. Since the bye week though the Raiders have played their best football of the season. What all of Raider Nation and fantasy owners worldwide are waiting for is Darren McFadden to get it in gear. Thus far the Raiders rushing game as been nothing close to what it was last season. If Run DMC starts producing then the tide will turn for Oakland. I’m expecting a good game Sunday as both teams are looking to get some consistency as the playoff picture starts to come into focus.

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2. Tampa Bay is being lauded for having a pretty solid 1-2 punch at wide receiver with two gigantic names. But the Raiders also have an alright passing attack that is growing. Even though the names aren’t big (yet), how good are the Raiders receivers and will they take advantage of this weak Bucs secondary?

Quiet as kept Carson Palmer is putting up some career numbers. Denarius Moore is also putting up some very sneaky good performances that have many believing he’s on his way stardom. Darrius Heyward-Bey had his best season a year ago though his production is down thus far. None the less DHB is capable of making big plays and Moore specializes in doing just that. If Jacoby Ford weren’t lost for the season we might have seen a real breakthrough for the Raiders receiving corps. Establishing the running game is the main priority but Palmer will definitely test the Bucs secondary. 

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3. If you could steal one player from the Bucs roster and put him on the Raiders, who would it be and why?

I’d have to go with Doug Martin. Always loved his game at Boise and I’m happy to see him doing his thing at the next level. Without Michael Bush behind Run DMC the running game has been grounded. I’d love to have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield with those two.  

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 4. You were a coach for the Raiders that just got fired. The Bucs have hired you and are asking you to scout out the strengths and weaknesses of the Oakland Raiders, what do you tell them?

I don’t know man…that’s kind of a stretch. It’s not like the Raiders hire and fire coaches every other year…wait…oh, yeah…never mind.
For Tampa it’s all about establishing a balanced attack. When teams get too one dimensional of offense against the Raiders they play right into the strengths of the defense. As for stopping Oakland’s offense you’ve got one mission: stop McFadden. Sure, Palmer can pick apart a secondary still but the Raiders don’t win very often when Palmer has 300+ yards. Now if McFadden gets off for 100+ then the odds of Oakland winning go through the roof. 

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5. Alright, money’s on the line: who wins on Sunday in the Bay Area and why?

I like the Raiders is a slug fest. Something tells me this one might be a non-too-pretty 16-13 game with the mega leg of Sebastian Janikowski being the difference.

Topics: NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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