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The Streak-Slaying Raiders

Last year the Raiders had many bad streaks going against them. 0-13 against the Chargers, losing seasons since 2003, and seven straight seasons with 11 or more losses. The Raiders turned all three of these around last year by sweeping the AFC West and going 8-8. The streak the has still lingered is winning outside the division and on the road. This Sunday the Raiders have a chance to make a statement that they are for real. ESPN experts still have counted out the Raiders and look at them as a second class team. See: Panel Shuts out Raiders Again

The issues for this game is who is healthy and which player will be the next man up. The Raiders haven't started 2-0 since the 2002. That year they went to the Superbowl. Too early for that talk. The current report out of Oakland is that Jacoby Ford is out unless there is some kind of miracle that happens overnight. Richard Seymour looks like a go for Sunday and the Raiders really need him to play. His presence in this defense is vital to the success in stopping Ryan Fitzpatrick. Lets remember that travel doesn't really effect the outcome of a game, even on a short week this early in the season. This is their second road game in a row and this will be an advantage to the Raiders more than a disadvantage. It is still September and the weather is still good, so the conditions won't be much different from Oakland.

Other key players that are back from injury or are at least probable is Micheal Huff and Chris Johnson. Kevin Boss is back and will help the Raiders dominate up front and protect Campbell. Boss will be a huge weapon and outlet for Campbell. He is still listed as questionable, but he says he will play.

Hue Jackson has to stop one of the worst streaks the Raiders have had since they started under Al Davis. That is leading the league in penalties. This has to stop. The only opponent that stands in the Raiders way to going to the playoffs and beyond is themselves.

The tale of two paths have collided this week. The Bills are team that remind many of the 2010 Raiders. They are talented but will shoot themselves often and spiral downward as the season goes on. They played a very good game against the Chiefs last Sunday. If they can put up that same performance again against the Raiders, tip your hat to them. It was a fluke last week and it will show this Sunday. The only way the Raiders lose this game is letting the Bills stay in the game by committing costly penalties. The Raiders must avoid drive-killing penalties like false starts and personal fouls on defense that keep the opposing offense moving.

Look for the Raiders to run over, through and around the Bills defense. Bills will say they stopped Jamaal Charles last week, but the Chiefs averaged 6.o yards per carry. Darren McFadden, who will supply both speed and power running and the Raiders should win this game in a run away. They won't and will find away to struggle to put the Bills away and could even give up the lead in the fourth. Sebastian Janikowski will give the Bills some payback for the 2008 loss by kicking a winning field goal with only seconds remaining.

The Bills path is still one of progression and the Raiders path will be determined this Sunday. If they win, the Raiders will win the AFC West. If they lose their path will get a lot harder and look similar to last year. This is the year to slay all the bad streaks and start all the good streaks on the way to the playoffs.
Raiders win 27-24.


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