Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 22, 2012
Oakland heads to Carolina to take on the Panthers after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 15-0 last Sunday to earn their first victory since October.
The Raiders hope to put together a win streak to finish up the season but will have to do so on the road, starting with the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina will prove to be a tough test as they feature a valuable asset in quarterback Cam Newton, who is a big play waiting to happen on every play.
The former Heisman Trophy Award winner possesses freakish athletic ability that allows him to take off running at any moment. At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Newton is a tough tackle for anyone on the defensive side of the ball.
Newton, who set new rookie records for passing yards (4,051) and rushing yards (706) last season, has rushed for 647 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 3,451 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns. Newton is currently the Panthers leading rusher with his 647 yards over DeAngelo Williams and the running back corps.
The Raiders will need to find a way to contain Newton in order to slow down the Panthers offense that is coming off two games in which they have averaged 30.5 points against the Falcons and Chargers.
Michael Huff and the Raiders secondary will be going up against a familiar face in wide receiver Louis Murphy. Murphy played for the Raiders three seasons after being drafted in the fourth round by Al Davis, accumulating 90 receptions for 1,371 yards and six touchdowns.
Murphy was traded in the offseason to the Panthers in exchange for a draft pick. The fourth-year wide receiver, who was friends with Newton during their time at the University of Florida, has hauled in 21 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown.
Murphy isn’t the only that will be seeing familiar faces in the game on Sunday. Raiders running back Mike Goodson played his first two seasons in the league for the Carolina Panthers before being traded to the Raiders in the offseason for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell.
Goodson has quietly put together good numbers when he has seen the field, fighting injuries and sitting behind Darren McFadden for most of the year. There’s no doubt that Goodson’s 6.7 yards per carry should warrant more playing time for the young running back.
The Raiders will need to get McFadden and their running game going to help ease the passing game. McFadden rushed for his third 100-yard game of the season against the Chiefs last week.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is expected to see some more playing time after seeing the field for the first time in his NFL career last week. Pryor was on the field for one series that included just three plays, two handoffs and one incomplete pass.
It still remains to be seen how much time Pryor will get against an underrated Panthers secondary that is allowing just 217.7 yards per game, 10th best in the league.
The coaching staff has expressed the desire to use the remaining games of the season in order to help evaluate some of their younger players.
Oakland continues on the road to finish the season as they head into San Diego to take on the Chargers to finish out the season.