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Raiders Vs. Dolphins Preview: Oakland Must Overcome Intangibles to Defeat Inferior Dolphins Team

On paper, the Oakland Raiders should be able to dispose of the Miami Dolphins with a fair amount of ease. The Raiders defensive front seven is one of the strongest groups on the team. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have a rookie quarterback and a group of below average receivers. On the other side of the ball, the defense was a bright spot for the Fins last year, but was embarassed as the Houston Texans put up 30 points against them in week one. The struggles of Miami's defense should mean that the Raiders offense that struggled in week one will have an opportunity to get the ball rolling. But while the Raiders have a better roster than the Dolphins and are expected to be a much better team, there is a reason the game is played.

The Raiders will have to take one of the longest road trips in all of the NFL, traveling from Oakland to Miami, and will have to do it on a short week after playing their opener on Monday night. On top of that, the fact that the game comes early in the season means the Raiders will also have to deal with weather conditions they are not used to. Miami will be hot and muggy when the Raiders take the field for the 1pm ET kick off against Miami. In recent years, the Raiders have not faired well when they had to travel accross country, and even worse when they were playing in unfavorable weather conditions.

Luckily for the Raiders, they will likely have speedster wide receiver, Denarius Moore, back for the game this week. He was close to being ready to go in week one and the coaching staff believes he will be able to go in week two. While he is only one player, he will make a big difference for the offense. Last week, the Raiders were unable to effectively stretch the field without their two deep threats in Moore and Jacoby Ford. While Darrius Heyward-Bey has good top end speed, he does not have the burst off of the line that the other two do, and has trouble creating separation on traditional deep routes. This is why he has become more of a possession receiver with big play potential after the catch.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, they will also be dealing with the loss of players. Long snapper Jon Condo may miss this week if he is unable to pass the concussion test. Wide out Jacoby Ford could be lost for the season after he had to have surgery on his foot and cornerback Ron Bartell will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his shoulder. None of these are devastating losses, but they are certainly a concern for a team with serious depth issues.