The Oakland Raiders return home witha two game winning streak to face the 3-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Oakland Coliseum this Sunday. After the Raiders nearly beat the Atlanta Falcons following their bye week, much of the talk was about how the Raiders had two winnable games in a row with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Bucs. However, after Tampa Bay manhandled the then 5-2 Minnesota Vikings and scored 28 or more points for three consecutive weeks, the Bucs are suddenly looking like a rather formidable opponent.
The Bucsoffense has really turned it on as Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson have lit up score boards in recent weeks. In addition, rookie running back Doug Martin has been very impressive, and only appears to be getting better with every game that he plays. If Freeman continues to grow and play the way he has shown he is capable of, the Bucs offense will be a good test for a Raiders defense that has looked very good the past couple of weeks against inferior opponents.
On defense, the Bucs have one of the better rush defenses in the league, ranked 6th in opponent rushing yards allowed at 85.1 yards per game in 2012. Their pass defense, on the other hand, is one of the leagues worst, ranked at 31st in pass yards allowed with 309.6 yards per game allowed. Unlike other seasons recently, this actually favors the Raiders, who have struggled to get a run game going, but whose pass offense is top 10 in passing yards per game.
The Raiders will not likely be able to get their run game going against Tampa Bay, but they should get enough pop out of Carson Palmer and the passing game to keep the Raiders competitive. The big question is whether or not the defense will be able to slow down a Bucsoffense that has been on an absolute tear recently. With wins over two of the worst teams in the NFL in recent weeks, the Raiders will be able to prove that those wins were not flukes and the Raiders have finally found their way.