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Running back Darren McFadden was an integral part of Oakland's offensive game plan in the Raiders' 22-14 loss to the Chargers on Monday. His rushing numbers left something to be desired, as McFadden gained just 32 yards on 15 carries, but he supplemented that by catching 13 passes for 86 yards.
Levi Damien, of Silver and Black Pride, took notice of McFadden's effort and gave him credit for bearing so much responsibility in the offense:
McFadden was nearly the entire Raiders offense. His number was called 33 times in this game out of 64 plays. That means he had more plays than the rest of the offensive players combined. He was targeted 18 times in the passing game and had a Raider running back record 13 catches. It was once shy of tying the Raiders record at any position-set by Tim Brown in 1997. Granted the Raiders should have spread the ball around more but McFadden deserves credit for being the workhorse in this game. He was far more featured in the passing game because the Chargers were allowing underneath passes all day.
The fifth-year back out of Arkansas will be more explosive with those touches in the future if his past is any indicator. McFadden has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 9.9 yards per catch in his career. It remains to be seen if the heavy workload will take its toll, as McFadden has yet to play a full 16-game NFL schedule since coming to the Raiders in 2008.
Dennis Allen said WR Jacoby Ford’s injured left foot didn’t "respond like everybody was kind of hoping it would" to rest and rehabilitation.— Raiders RapidReports (@CBSRaiders) September 11, 2012
During Monday's game against the San Diego Chargers, a 22-14 loss, Ford was not on the sideline. Now, it turns out he was in North Carolina undergoing some sort of surgery.
Entering his third season in the NFL, Ford injured his left foot in the second preseason game of the year against the Arizona Cardinals. An MRI revealed nothing further afterward, and he was apparently making progress in the past few weeks, even jogging around at some practices.
The exact injury to Ford's foot was never given.
It'd be easy to place blame on the Oakland Raiders' Travis Goethel for three flubbed long snaps to punter Shane Lechler on Monday night. But to know the context behind those three bad special teams plays, and it all becomes a little easier to feel bad for the guy.
Pro Bowl longsnapper Jon Condo was knocked out of the game against San Diego, and here's how Goethel, a middle linebacker, ended up as head coach Dennis Allen's backup longsnapper.
"Trust me," Goethel said, "I wish it never happened."
"He asked if I knew how to long snap," Goethel said of Allen, "and I was the only one at camp that stood out. That's kind of how I got put in there."
Neither Lechler nor Allen blamed Goethel either. Considering the limited roster size keeps NFL teams from carrying long snapping specialists as backups, only some practice time gave Goethel the chance to practice. Add Oakland's dirt baseball field to the mix, and it was a recipe for struggle.
Of all the damage done to AFC West teams in Week One, the Denver Broncos losing defensive lineman Ty Warren for the year stands out. Warren, who tore his triceps in the opening half of Denver's Sunday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, has missed the last two seasons with injuries as well.
The Kansas City Chiefs had no players injured in their 40-24 opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Cornerback Brandon Flowers, safety Kendrick Lewis and tackle Anthony Toribio all missed Sunday's game, and no one seems sure when any of them will return.
The Oakland Raiders might be looking for a new long snapper, if Jon Condo cannot return soon from a head injury that knocked him out of Monday night's game against the Chargers. Condo's replacement, backup linebacker Travis Goethel, badly misfired on several punt snaps. Cornerback Ron Bartell had to leave the game with a shoulder injury and will be evaluated Tuesday.
The San Diego Chargers' star tight end Antonio Gates had to leave Monday night's game with a rib injury, but did return later. The statuses of Ryan Mathews, Jared Gaither and Antonio Garay, who all did not play against the Raiders, will be updated later in the week.
For complete coverage of the AFC West and the rest of the league, check out SB Nation's NFL hub.
The Oakland Raiders lost their season-opening game to the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, and suffered a couple of injuries along the way. Raiders' long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a head injury, while cornerback Ron Bartell had to leave with an injured shoulder.
Condo's injury may have been the most damaging to the Raiders on Monday, as a number of special teams miscues proved too much to overcome. Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride highlighted the impact of Condo leaving the game:
Taking Condo's place at long snapper was reserve middle linebacker, Travis Goethel. That turned out to be a choice that would doom the Raiders and turn this game into an absolute debacle.
Goethel had three snaps and only [one] of them was successful punt.. barely. The first punt was low causing Lechler to not be able to field it cleanly and he didn't get the punt away. The second was a flat out block thanks to a snap that was slow and wobbly. The third, he barely got away without it being blocked again. And the final punt was skipped across the ground resulting in Lechler not getting ahold of it and him falling on the ball.
San Diego was more fortunate on Monday, as none of its players left the game for good. Tight end Antonio Gates was kept out the contest for a time with an injury to his ribs, but was able to return.
Grades for the Oakland Raiders after their first game, a loss to the San Diego Chargers.
The Raiders’ most valuable player is apparently long snapper Jon Condo. Condo went down in the second quarter to a head injury and backup LB Travis Goethel took over at long snapper, utterly failing at the job and leading to three failed Raider punts, including one that was blocked. This gave the Chargers an extremely short field all throughout the second half and allowed them to put the game away as the Chargers won 22-14.
Meanwhile, the Raider defense looked extremely stout and disciplined in their assignments, holding the Chargers to a mere 32 yards rushing. Philip Rivers was his normal efficient self, amassing 231 yards on 24/33 passing and one touchdown, but the Chargers’ lack of ability to rush limited his chances to take the game over. The Raiders bent but didn’t break throughout the contest, holding the Chargers to several field goals when it appeared touchdowns were inevitable.
The Raiders’ offense was efficient and moved the ball well at times, but the lack of playmakers at wideout and tight end severely limited their options. Darren McFadden touched the ball on what seemed like half the offensive snaps, and he did his best against a Charger defense that was clearly geared to stop him. McFadden gained 118 yards from scrimmage on the night and was both the team’s leading rusher and receiver.
Carson Palmer was very good, eschewing his normal habit of forcing the ball deep. He did not make the costly mistakes we saw him make in the preseason, but without Denarius Moore or Jacoby Ford he also was mostly unable to take his shots down the field. The lack of this option was the major factor leading to San Diego’s seeming defensive dominance of the game. Palmer did manage one garbage-time touchdown, and even though the Raiders lost he did statistically outplay Philip Rivers in the game. Palmer seems like he will play at a very high level all year.
In the first half, Oakland put together several good drives but on each one, some calamity befell the team and cost them the opportunity for a touchdown. On the Raiders’ first drive, when it seemed the Raiders were marching steadily down the field with little resistance, Rod Streater fumbled while trying to fight for extra yards. On the next possession, Taiwan Jones fumbled on a reverse. On the Chargers’ first touchdown drive, DT Tommy Kelly had two offsides penalties on critical third downs.
There were some positives to take away from the game. Carson Palmer looks as good as he has ever been, the offensive line played very well and kept Palmer from being touched by the defense until midway through the fourth quarter, and Darren McFadden looks as explosive as he was in his 2010 season. Also, the Raiders appear more disciplined and aside from a string of plays in the second quarter, appear to have cut down on costly penalties- they totaled only six penalties for 35 yards in the entire game. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver looks like a genius and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s system seems as though it will be effective. However, the lack of weapons in the passing game and special teams woes ultimately led to a heartbreaking defeat Monday night.
The Oakland Raiders had all sorts of problems in their loss to the San Diego Chargers. The offense had long droughts of productivity, the special teams was pretty awful, they had bad fumbles, and of course the terrible snaps on the punts killed any potential momentum and lost them any chances at winning critical field position battles.
Knapps play calling, This pi--ed me off during the game, we are 3rd and short or even 2nd and short and you line up in a shotgun formation knowing we have a tough O-line and pass? We have the most explosive RB in the game and you line him back up by 5 yards when all you need is like 3, Knapp is using Dmac as a WR, but he is a RB, don't try to mismatch him on the outside, let him run right through like he is used to.
The Chargers fans seemed pretty happy about going into Oakland and nabbing a crucial divisional victory. San Diego did their best to shut down Oakland offensively, and they did their best to hold down the top tailback of the Raiders. John Gennaro of Bolts from the Blue gives the proper accolades to the defense, who stepped up and held down Darren McFadden.
I think I'm handing the game ball to Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. In his first game, he was able to corral Darren McFadden on the ground and was able to put pressure on Carson Palmer when it mattered. Without Pagano calling some Prevent Defense towards the end of the 4th quarter, the Raiders wouldn've never scored a TD. That's an impressive achievement for John's first game calling plays.
The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders played the only intradivision matchup in the AFC West in Week 1. It was a pretty ugly affair, but San Diego won by capitalizing on special teams blunders by the Raiders and converting them into crucial field goals. Phillip Rivers game-managed pretty well, throwing a touchdown pass, and the Chargers defense held down the Raiders offense for most of the game.
Peyton Manning debuted for the Denver Broncos, and he ended up beating the Pittsburgh Steelers with an efficient and excellent performance. Manning completed 73% of his passes and threw two second half touchdowns, and Tracy Porter managed a crucial pick-six to clinch the game for the Broncos.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Atlanta Falcons at home after getting torched for 40 points and nearly 400 total yards. Three Kansas City turnovers also sabotaged any hopes at victory.
Click here for the full NFL standings from Sports Illustrated.
From beyond, Al Davis is watching his Oakland Raiders and he is not happy. They had the entire game to put pressure on San Diego, but they waited until there were 59 seconds left in the game to make their move. Yet, it would be too little, too late for the Raiders as they lose to the Chargers 22-14.
Despite a game-high 297 yards passing, Raiders' quarterback Carson Palmer was unable to get anything going. Raiders' kicker Sebastian Janikowski would provide a majority of Oakland's offense by scoring two field goals during the first half.
Asleep at the wheel during the third quarter and a majority of the fourth, the next Raider points would come as the seconds ticked down in the fourth. Palmer completed a pass to Rod Streeter for Oakland's only touchdown. Palmer and Streeter would pair up again for two-point conversion. The Chargers recovered the ball on the onside kick and it was over.
After losing the entire 2011 season to injury, Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding played in his first NFL game in over a year. Little did he know that his first game back in the regular season would require him to score most of San Diego's points. Kaeding had five field goals and one PAT. Much to the Raiders dismay, he nailed every one of them.
The best part of the third quarter for the Raiders came when it looked like Charger Antonio Gates was out of the game with a rib injury. If that's the high point, then the rest of the quarter was, well, interesting. Yet interesting doesn't score points and San Diego was up 16-6 at the end of the third.
Norv Turner may not be the brightest bulb, but he should at least be able to pick up on what the Raiders are trying to do. They did the same thing over and over in the quarter. Quarterback Carson Palmer either hands off to Darren McFadden or throws to Darren McFadden. In four series in the quarter, the Palmer and McFadden linked up nine different times.
As shown by the score, it didn't work. The Raiders couldn't get within field goal distance each time. To add insult to injury, in the second Oakland series, punter Shane Lechler had his kick blocked and San Diego recovered. Thanks to that block, the Chargers would turn it into a field goal, increasing their lead.
Antonio Gates ended up returning for the Chargers. Tough quarter for the silver and black.
San Diego was the first to find the end zone for more than just 3 points. Early in the second quarter, quarterback Philip Rivers completed a 6-yard pass to Malcom Floyd for a touchdown. The Raiders would make a rush for the end zone in the closing seconds of the half, only to settle for another field goal.
The Raiders can take this positive away from the first half: they're beating SD in the stat column! In the first half, quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 156 yards. Pulling double duty, Darren McFadden rushed for 35 yards and had 67 yards in reception. If those stats can translate into actual points, the Raiders just might win this game.
The Raiders defense had been absolutely stifling, holding the Chargers to negative yardage until five minutes remained in the first half as the Chargers plowed down the field to the red zone. The Chargers couldn't convert though and had to settle for a field goal.
But as good as the Raiders defense has been, the Chargers defense hasn't been half bad either. The Raiders had to settle for a Janikowski 51-yard field goal for their only points of the half as well.
Running back Darren McFadden hasn't been able to get too much going, rushing for 27 yards off of seven carries. Quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown 8-for-10 for 64 yards. Without Denarius Moore or Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey has brought down two catches for 22 yards.
Wide receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford highlight the list of Oakland Raiders' players who are inactive for the Monday Night Football contest against the San Diego Chargers. Moore is nursing a hamstring injury and will miss the game despite being a limited participant in practice throughout the week.
The Chargers will be without third-year running back Ryan Mathews, who is dealing with a broken clavicle suffered in the preseason. The Bolts will also be without OT Jared Gaither, DT Antonio Garay, TE Ladarius Green, LB Jonas Mouton and SS Brandon Taylor.
The two teams will face one another in Oakland at 7:25 p.m. PT in Oakland.
In my Week 1 picks, I called the game between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers the tossup of the week, thanks to Peyton Manning and his questionable health. There was doubt the man would ever play a game again a season ago, so it was certainly not a smart bet to take the Broncos over Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Then Manning came out and completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, with no picks. Demaryius Thomas had five grabs for 110 yards on the day, and the Broncos walked out of there with a dominating 31-19 victory. There will still be question marks surrounding Manning and his neck, but for now, he's true to his usual form.
And for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, that's certainly not a good thing. Without the Manning factor, the Monday Night Football matchup between the Raiders and Chargers would likely be considered the first battle for the AFC West. It's always been the Broncos as a question mark, the Chargers as the favorites who might be slipping, and the Raiders who might just put everything together.
Well, the Broncos have done a lot to take away that question mark and now the pressure is on. Monday's game will not only be a test to see which of these two break out, but it will be the first look at who is going to compete with the new-look Broncos. Manning went out there on Sunday night and made a statement - which one of these two teams will do the same?
The Raiders are looking for revenge after last year's Week 17 38-26 defeat at the hands of the Chargers that knocked Oakland out of playoff contention in front of their home crowd.
And they should have it easier in theory as San Diego running back Ryan Matthews is expected to sit out with his clavicle injury. The Chargers wide receiver corp is also still a huge question mark with Phillip Rivers attempting to learn to live without Vincent Jackson.
From the Raiders side, fans of the black and silver are hoping that quarterback Carson Palmer's play will improve with a full offseason under his belt in this offense. Explosive pass-catcher Denarius Moore has been handed a questionable tag but is still expected to play which should help Palmer's chances.
Game Time: 10:15 p.m. ET
TV Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: Sirius Radio Chanel 94, ROCK 105.3 FM
Betting Line: Raiders favored by one. Over/under 46.5
The Oakland Raiders entered the off season with little hope of making an impact on the team through the draft. Due to various trades, the Raiders had no picks until the fifth round and only two picks overall. Then the Raiders received three compensatory picks for free agents lost during the previous off season, including the highest compensatory pick given, a third rounder. During the draft, the Raiders picked up one more pick by moving back ten spots in the fifth round. The Raiders still had no picks until the last pick in the third round, and only 6 picks in all, and yet Reggie McKenzie has put together a rookie class where at least three players will likely play a significant role in the season opener against the San Diego Chargers.
With the injuries to the receiving corps, the Raiders are thin at the position for the opener. Jacoby Ford will not play in the game and even though Denarius Moore will be suited up, he likely will not be ready to play a significant number of snaps after missing the entire pre season. Because of this, the Raiders signed free agent wide receiver Derek Hagan, who Raiders fans will remember for his stint with the Raiders last season. But since he just signed with the team, he is not familiar with the offense yet and is likely more of a depth signing for week one. Because of that, the Raiders will need production from their two rookie wide receivers, Juron Criner, and undrafted free agent Rod Streater.
Criner is a talented receiver who fell to the Raiders late in the draft because of a poor 40 time and some personality concerns. He is good sized, has great hands and runs good routes. Rod Streater is an undrafted free agent who was the star of the team in the pre season. In every game but the last one, where he was pulled after only one series, it seemed ilke Streater's name was being called on every other pass attempt. He had good chemistry with Palmer and put up some solid numbers. If the Raiders want to get a win in week one, they will need some production from these guys.
The other rookie who is likely to have a big impact on the game is outside linebacker Miles Burris. As the Raiders second pick of the draft, Burris was taken in the fourth round in an attempt to solidify the second worst part of the Raiders defense. While Burris was drafted with thoughts of him being a starter of the future, an injury to Aaron Curry has made him the starter of today. But that did not faze Burris one bit. He stepped up to the plate and had a very impressive pre season for the Raiders, leaving little concern over the absence of Aaron Curry.
For as little as he was given to work with, Reggie McKenzie deserves a lot of credit for finding three rookies capable of contributing from the get go this season.
The Oakland Raiders received some good news Friday when San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Matthews shared that he doesn't think he will be participating in Monday night's game, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Here's what the third-year Fresno State product had to say on the subject:
"I haven't been cleared for contact, and I think we're just going to wait this week," Mathews said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. ... I just have to have the mindset right. I probably won't be playing in this game."
Matthews has been rehabbing his broken clavicle since suffering the injury back on Aug. 9. He began participating in individual drills this week at practice but apparently that wasn't good enough for the individuals who make the important decisions for the Chargers.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore practiced for the second straight day Friday and appears to be on track to play Monday against the San Diego Chargers, according to Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times.
Friday was only the second time Moore has practiced since straining his right hamstring on Aug. 4. Still, even with today's good news, Moore remains a game-time decision, given the volatility of the injury.
Undrafted free agent rookie Rod Streater and Darrius Heyward-Bey have been working with the first team as the starting receivers, according to Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area. Jacoby Ford, who would normally be in the starting mix, remains purely a spectator as he rests his left foot injury.
In other injury news, guard Cooper Carlisle, wide receiver Juron Criner and defensive tackle Richard Seymour all participated in Friday practice after being limited on Thursday. Guard Alex Parsons looks to start over Stefen Wisniewski, who was limited to second-team reps as he comes back from a right calf injury.
For more news on Raiders football, head on over to Silver and Black Pride.
We take a look at what the NFC West and AFC West has going on in Week 1 of the 2012 NFL Season. For more on the 49ers, be sure to head on over to Niners Nation. For more on the Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.
It's difficult to get an accurate read on the Raiders from this preseason. Carson Palmer threw some lovely passes but had several of them picked and did not, as I recall, throw a touchdown; Darren McFadden didn't play much, Jacoby Ford was erratic at best and starting center Stefen Wisniewski was injured. What we did see was an offense that much like last year was able to pick up key first downs and move the ball consistently. in addition, when Darren McFadden had the ball in his hands he was as dynamic as he has been since his college days at Arkansas.
So what does that mean for this week against the Chargers? On paper it seems as though San Diego will have difficulty moving the ball. Several of their star offensive players are injured and the healthy ones are not very good. Oakland's offense will have the ball a lot. We don't yet know if Dennis Allen and Greg Knapp will favor a balanced attack or a run heavy or pass heavy offense. Considering Oakland's personnel, they have the ability to do whatever they want so my best guess would be "whatever is working at the time".
So with that, here are your Raiders to start this week:
START: Darren McFadden. If you were fortunate enough to land this guy anywhere past the ninth pick overall, you got a steal. If he is healthy all year (knock on wood) he will contend for top fantasy player overall. There will be a handful of games this year where McFadden should be considered for top overall fantasy player and this is one of them. San Diego used to have a great defense, but it's a shell of what it used to be. Shawne Merriman and Jamal Williams are gone with random scrubs and underachieving top picks replacing them. Promising linebacker Melvin ingram is injured already, although he may play. McFadden could completely embarrass this defense and rack up serious fantasy points.
START: Carson Palmer. He is probably a backup for you, but if your QB is facing a tough matchup (PIT, BAL, SF, CHI) consider starting Palmer. San Diego has exactly one good secondary player, Quentin Jammer, who is hurt and coming off a horrible 2011. I expect Palmer to air it out early and often and try to find the weak links on the Chargers. PROTIP: there are lots of them. Even if Palmer throws a pick or two, he will likely rack up the yardage and throw a few TDs, which should be enough to have a good fantasy score.
START: Darrius Heyward-Bey. Currently, DHB is listed as the number one receiver on the depth chart. He showed good hands and speed during the preseason and has been getting the regular reps with Palmer. I expect at least ten receptions from him on Monday night and possibly a touchdown. He likely fell far in your draft, but is a solid WR3 and possibly WR2 if he continues his steady production from last year.
And now, the Raiders to avoid.
SIT: Denarius Moore. Moore will be a solid threat and a good fantasy starter but not this week. He was injured through most of training camp and simply hasn't had the playing time to get reps and to get in football shape. Darrius Heyward-Bey has, as I predicted, eclipsed him on the pecking order and while Moore may catch a few balls, he is no sure bet to remain healthy or make a serious impact on the game. Keep an eye on his production going forward because he will step it up, but sit him down for this game.
SIT: Jacoby Ford. Ford is a dynamic playmaker who has blazing speed and quickness, but he looked utterly lost this preseason. In the Cowboys game he dropped a couple passes on the opening quarter and couldn't catch a deep pass that resulted in an interception. His best hope is using his speed from the slot to get lost in open spaces in the coverage, but we will need a week to see how the scheme facilitates that outcome for him. Even if he is targeted frequently he needs to prove he can catch the ball and make plays with his athleticism before earing the trust of his fantasy owners.
SIT: Brandon Myers. He's definitely not a fantasy starter and is the clearest option for an upgrade on the entire team. He may catch a few outlet passes and move the chains but he's not in the first, second, or third tier of fantasy tight ends.
So there you have it. Go forth, armed with knowledge, and beat whomever it is you are playing this week.
As the Oakland Raiders continue to prepare for their season opener against the San Diego Chargers Monday, the status of two of their top wide receivers remains in flux.
Jacoby Ford, who is battling at foot injury, did not participate in practice on Thursday. Ford sprained his foot in the Raiders first preseason game and is yet to return to practice. Denarius Moore is still dealing with a hamstring injury, but he was able to participate in Thursday's practice on a limited basis.
In addition to Moore, Richard Seymour, Juron Criner and Cooper Carlisle were also limited in Thursday's practice. It wasn't all bad news for the Raiders, however, as Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Stefen Wisniewski and Sebastian Janikowski were all listed as full participants Thursday.
The Oakland Raiders are not the same team as in 2011 in a lot of ways. Many of the offensive players are the same, but the scheme is completely different. On defense, the Raiders will have new starters at two linebacker positions, both corner spots and the nickel position on top of having a new defensive scheme. Monday night will be the first test for the newly rebuilt team when the Raiders take on the San Diego Chargers. Here is a look at how the Raiders match up against their division rivals.
The Chargers are coming into the game with two key injuries on offense that may have a big impact on the game in favor of the Raiders. Starting left tackle Jared Gaither will be out of the game and will be replaced by an undrafted rookie. Starting running back Ryan Mathews also does not look like he will play much, if at all, on Monday. Both of these injuries are big for the Raiders. The defensive line for the Raiders is with out a doubt the strongest unit on that side of the ball and should be able to keep Philip Rivers under pressure most of the game. Meanwhile, the Raiders have struggled to stop the run for years now, and without Mathews, the new scheme will not face a very strong run game.
The down side for the Raiders defense is that their corner backs are pretty questionable. The Raiders do not have one single corner back left on the roster from 2011. Shawntae Spencer looked pretty good in the pre-season, but Ron Bartell was not nearly as convincing. At the nickel spot, however, the Raiders were able to make a big up grade by signing Joselio Hanson when he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles. Before the Eagles decided to over dose on corner backs by getting Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the same off season, Hanson was considered one of the better nickel backs in the league. With a good pass rush and good safety play, the Raiders might be able to keep Rivers in check. If, however, Rivers returns to the Rivers of old, it could be a long day in the Raiders secondary.
On offense, the Raiders have a big challenge in front of them. The Chargers have a strong linebacker unit and drafted a pass rushing specialist in the first round of the draft in Melvin Ingram. Overall, the Chargers defense should be improved over last season. The key will be the play of the Raiders offensive line. If they can open lanes for Darren McFadden and give Carson Palmer a decent amount of time, the Raiders should be able to move the ball. The problem is, the Raiders offensive line did not look strong in the new zone blocking scheme in the pre season.
The Raiders are not opening the year against a push over by any means, but they are not brutally out matched either. The Chargers match up well with the Raiders and the two teams should put on a good show for NFL fans in the first Monday Night Football of the year.
The Oakland Raiders looked really good in the preseason. And it wasn't one of those 4-0 false hope-fests, it was a team facing a slew of changes looking fundamentally prepared for the upcoming season. When it's all said and done, it will come down to whether or not they have all their ducks in a row. The skill of their best players is not in up for debate at this point, it's all down to whether or not the new coaching staff (and new front office) can put these players in a position to win.
On Monday, the Raiders will take on the San Diego Chargers, hoping to get an early leg-up on the AFC West favorites. San Diego has been at the top of the division for much of the past few seasons, while Oakland has repeatedly finished middle of the pack. In our power rankings, we had the Chargers up higher than the rest of the division, but that doesn't mean they'll win every matchup against AFC West opponents.
Oakland simply has what it takes to beat the Chargers, especially early on in the season. If Carson Palmer is on point and Darren McFadden is fresh and healthy, they'll do some serious damage that the San Diego defense simply can't handle. They're not a defense built on speed, but more on power, and McFadden is the kind of running back who can run circles around them.
There's also plenty of controversy going on in the San Diego locker room with head coach Norv Turner. Maybe it's not making headlines, but the Chargers don't have anything new to be excited about. The Raiders will be fired up on Monday night and they'll likely have the momentum out of the gate. Phillip Rivers can never be counted out, but in a battle of quick backs, McFadden beats Ryan Matthews every time.
Let's go with Oakland taking this one 20-13.
The Raiders are starting to look for wide receivers to ensure they have enough players available for their Monday Night matchup against the San Diego Chargers. Two veterans they've looked at are Jabar Gaffney and Tiquan Underwood.
The current receiving corps of the Raiders is really limited for the season opener. Denarius Moore continues to be bothered by a hamstring, Jacoby Ford has a sore foot and Juron Criner has a twisted ankle. That leaves only Darrius Heyward-Bey as the only proven starter still healthy, with Rod Streater likely to join him. But Oakland could only have two receivers of their original starting five available for the season opener.
Gaffney had a productive season with the Redskins last year and could be a solid pass catcher. Underwood has 11 receptions in the NFL, but was released by the Bucs after signing with Tampa on May 7th and could provide some speed on the outside.
This week, the Raiders host their one of their archrivals, the San Diego Chargers, on the late Monday Night Football game. To the Raiders, every other team in the NFL is an archrival and some college teams as well, but this rivalry goes back a very long way and is especially nasty. These two teams always play each other tough, no matter where the game is being held. We should be in for a physical, hard hitting match on Monday night.
However, the key to this game will be how San Diego QB Philip Rivers deals with the new Raider defensive attack under new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver and defensive guru head coach Dennis Allen. Rivers has a number of problems to deal with. Foremost amongst them is that this is an entirely new defense from Oakland, with very little tape to study. The Raiders first teamers were very successful on defense in the preseason, but were running vanilla defensive schemes which are not necessarily indicative of what they will throw at San Diego on Monday. Rivers is accustomed to Oakland playing straight man coverage, but he may be confused on Monday especially if the Raiders throw some exotic blitz packages at him.
Furthermore, the Charger team is seriously hurting from injury already. Star running back Ryan Mathews will miss the game (and possibly a few more) with a clavicle injury, burgeoning star WR Vincent Brown broke his ankle and was placed on injured reserve, and left tackle Jared Gaither is (surprise!) out with a back injury, as if San Diego's offensive line weren't awful enough even with Gaither in the lineup. This leaves Ronnie Brown to start at RB against a Raider front seven that regularly shut down opposing rushers in the preseason (Ryan Williams notwithstanding) and Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd to be the top wide receivers for Rivers. This spells almost certain doom for San Diego, whose only hope will be to throw to Antonio Gates on nearly every play.
Oakland will likely be able to move the ball at will, as San Diego's defense is less than stellar. They have few pass rushers and while star cornerback Quentin Jammer will start, he is coming off a hamstring injury and a terrible 2011 campaign that was the worst of his career. This game may be a shootout, and unless Rivers can have success against the Raiders defense it may get out of hand quickly.
The Oakland Raiders will begin the regular season on Monday Night Football as they host the San Diego Chargers. The two AFC West foes are expected to compete for a division crown in 2012, especially if they are able to stay healthy and get strong quarterback play.
Fortunately for the home-town Raiders, San Diego will be without talented running back Ryan Mathews due to the broken clavicle he suffered nearly a month ago. The Chargers are also adjusting to life without Vincent Jackson at wide receiver.
Everything considered, the Raiders have opener as one-point favorites over the Chargers, according to Odds Shark. Some lines have the two teams as even, while another had Oakland at -1.5 on Tuesday evening. The over-under for the game has been set at 47 1/2 points.
Kickoff from Oakland is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PT on Monday, Sept. 10.
For more on the Raiders, be sure to check out Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders Monday Night Football game will be a game of firsts in many ways.
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