Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 30, 2012
The Raiders hosted the Cleveland Browns last season in their first home game since the passing of longtime owner Al
Davis, just eight days after. Just one season later, the Browns come into Oakland after a week that saw an altercation between Raiders head coach Dennis Allen and linebacker Rolando McClain that resulted in a two-game suspension for the linebacker.
Browns running back Trent Richardson told local media that McClain was one of his “idols” while attending the University of Alabama but will now face a defense that will feature Omar Gaither at the middle linebacker position. All this in addition to the fact that the Raiders have given up an average of over 42 points per game over their current four-game losing streak.
With both teams at 3-8, the Raiders begin a three-game home stand in hopes of finding something to build on in the offseason.
The Browns feature a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden along with a bruising rookie running back in Richardson. The Raiders have struggled with their tackling as of late and things certainly won’t be easier with Richardson in the backfield for Cleveland. Richardson has rushed for 755 yards and six touchdowns this season heading into the game.
It appears that Weeden will get the start despite coming off of a concussion. Weeden has thrown for 2,456 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his rookie year, while completing only 55.9 percent of his passes.
The Raiders will need to find a way to stop wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little to slow down the passing game as they are two wide receivers that are capable of producing a big play against a struggling secondary.
Oakland defensive line needs to find a way to apply pressure on Weeden and try to force a mistake to give Carson Palmer and the Raiders offense extra possessions.
It was during the Browns game last season that Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone that evnetually prompted Hue Jackson and the Raiders to trade for Carson Palmer. During the eight seasons Palmer was with the Cincinnati Bengals, Palmer posted a 9-3 record against the Browns while throwing for 2,834 yards and 25 touchdowns in the 12 games played.
This year, Palmer faces a defensive backfield that features former first-round pick Joe Haden and veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown. The Raiders will need to get their wide receivers involved more than they did last week should they find a way to succeed through the air. In particular, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp needs to incorporate Denarius Moore frequently as he has struggled the last couple of games despite hauling in a touchdown last week with his only catch of the afternoon.
Both Mike Goodson and Darren McFadden returned to practice this week from their high-ankle sprains but it still remains to be seen how much time each of them will be on the field. Expect utility back Marcel Reece to continue to see a heavy workload with the two other running backs’ health still in question.
To make the week more interesting, the game is expected to be played during stormy weather that should feature strong winds and heavy rain in Oakland.
The Raiders must come away with the win in order to snap their four-game losing streak, the longest the team has had since the 2008 season.
Out: Jack Crawford (toe), Rolando McClain (team suspension), Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring)
Questionable: Mike Goodson (ankle), Darren McFadden (ankle)
Probable: Tyvon Branch (neck), Carson Palmer (right thumb), Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadricep)
Out: Dimitri Patterson (ankle), Ray Ventrone (calf), Usama Young (head)
Questionable: Joshua Cribbs (shoulder/chest), Eric Hagg (illness)
Probable: Johnson Bademosi (hip/shin), Jordan Cameron (groin), Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), Alex Smith (chest/ribs), Brandon Weeden (head), T.J. Ward (knee)