Raiders vs. Buccaneers key matchup: Raider defense must contain Josh Freeman

Kevin C. Cox

Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman has been playing well in the last few games. The Raiders will have to slow him down to get the victory on Sunday.

Last Thursday, in a game that practically nobody in he Bay Area watched because the Giants were on, the Buccaneers blew out the Vikings on Thursday Night Football by a score of 36-17. Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin rushed for 135 yards and Josh Freeman threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings are the team that utterly stymied the Niners a few weeks ago, so this game is not insignifcant.

One of this seasons big offseason moves was the Bucs giving WR Vincent Jackson a monster contract. He was always a thorn in Oakland's side so it's good to have him out of the division, but the Raiders will face him on Sunday. He has five touchdowns on the year already, and that's quite a feat when one considers how Tampa's offense struggled early on. The Bucs have other good receivers as well- Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, in addition to Martin's ability to catch balls out of the backfield.

Freeman has a huge arm and can be very accurate when given time to throw. He isn't fast but has some scrambling ability when chased out of the pocket. He is big and athletic and difficult to bring down. The Raiders would be wise to double cover Jackson and throw the kitchen sink at Freeman in an attempt to disrupt his timing. If they can shut down the Bucs' passing attack even moderately, they will have a good chance to win the game.

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