With a win over the Denver Broncos in week one, the Oakland Raiders picked up pretty much where they left off in 2010: beating the rest of the AFC West. Now, they head to Buffalo to take on the Bills outside of the division, a game that looked much easier just a couple weeks ago. The reason it looked much easier? Buffalo was supposed to be a basement dweller once again.
It may still end up that way, but a 41-7 beatdown of the supposedly trending-upward Kansas City Chiefs has everyone a little surprised. The Chiefs (aside from being divisional rivals of the Raiders, so they can thank Buffalo for said beatdown) are a young team with a ton of potential, who happened to do great in 2010 and look like a future division winner. Only time will tell if they just got awfully lucky in 2010 or if they just got awfully unlucky last week.
All that we know right now is that the "floundering" Bills just had quarterback Ryan FItzpatrick throw for four touchdowns and 208 yards, going 17-for-25 on his passes. Running back Fred Jackson has 112 yards rushing and a pair of receivers had four receptions and 66 yards apiece. They put up monster numbers on a Kansas City defense that was picked to be one of the stronger ones in the league.
So that's what it will come down to for the Raiders, who definitely looked good on defense against the Denver Broncos. What they need to worry about right now is Fitzpatrick and his apparently-rejuvenated ability to throw the football. They've got holes in their secondary without Nnamdi Asomugha, and young guys like Demarcus Van Dyke can be picked on in red zone situations. That's what Buffalo will be looking for, high touchdown production in the red zone, but they won't be able to do that if Oakland can stop the run.
And that's what the key to this game is, providing we have even a slight idea of what Buffalo is going to look like this season: stopping the run. Richard Seymour and the Raiders' defensive line, alongside Kamerion Wimbley and the linebackers will need to limit Fred Jackson like they limited Knowshon Moreno.
If they can do that and at least look decent on offense, they should be able to pick up a win outside the division, something they struggled mightily to do in 2010. The nature of Buffalo's week one beatdown of the Chiefs makes figuring out this team an awful lot harder, but you're only as good as your last game, which means the Raiders need to look at these guys like they just blew out a good team 41-7.