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Raiders v. Buccaneers Preview: Oakland must protect the ball to win against Tampa Bay

The Oakland Raiders cannot afford to caugh the ball up or the Bucs high powered offense will make them pay.

Peter Aiken

The Oakland Raiders have had a penchant for turning the ball over at the wrong time this season. They were able to overcome a flurry of turnovers two weeks ago when they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they will not be able to reach the same result against Tampa Bay. The Bucs, unlike the Jags and the Kansas City Chiefs, have a high powered offense that is capable of making the Raiders pay if they turn the ball over.

The Bucs have scored 28 or more points in their past three games and are starting to look like an elite offense. If the Raiders start turning the ball over, they could find themselves in a shoot out, which is the type of game the Raiders cannot win this season. The Bucs do not have a great defense and are missing their top two corner backs due to injuries, which means the Raiders should be able to move the ball on them. The problem is, the Raiders have had problems sustaining drives this season. They will often move the ball well, until they get close to the end zone when more often than not, they wind up settling for a field goal.

Josh Freeman is starting to look like the quarterback we saw in 2010 after a disappointing 2011 that made some question whether or not he was the answer in Tampa Bay. Freeman is top ten in the league in passer rating and his new go to receiver is a guy that the Raiders know all to well in Vincent Jackson. As a nice compliment to the potent passing game, the Bucs look as though they have found their running back of the future in rookie Doug Martin, who currently sits in 11th place in rush yards this season.

The Raiders have the speed to be a high scoring elite offense, but so far, they have not been able to utilize that speed and are 24th in the league in scoring. If the Raiders want to get to .500, they will need to protect the ball and make sure this game does not turn into a shoot out.