Originally published on SBReport.net on Oct. 20, 2012
Though they have won just one game so far this season, Dennis Allen and the Raiders showed promise as they fell to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons due to a last-second 55-yard field goal.
The Raiders host a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars team that is also 1-4 coming into the contest on Sunday.
While running back Darren McFadden was only able to 70 yards on 27 carries (2.6 yards per carry), he ran hard and appeared to be seeing the holes much better in the new zone-blocking scheme being installed to the Oakland offense.
McFadden is yet to have a breakout game season but will look to succeed against a Jaguars defense that is giving up 163.0 rushing yards per game, third-worst in the NFL.
McFadden broke loose the last time the Raiders faced the Jaguars, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while hauling in three receptions for another 86 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Getting the rushing attack going will help alleviate the stress being put on quarterback Carson Palmer and the passing game for much of this young season.
With injuries decimating the wide receiving corps for much of the season, Palmer has been able to produce and will look to get wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey incorporated early, in hopes of opening up the running lanes for McFadden.
Jacksonville has their own weapon at running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, former De La Salle High School standout and Oakland native.
Jones-Drew returned to the team just in time for season following an offseason holdout and has struggled as well. Jones-Drew has broken the 100-yard rushing line just once this season and only has one rushing touchdown recorded.
Though he has struggled somewhat, Jones-Drew always has the potential to break loose and will be a tough battle for the Raiders defense in the rushing and passing game.
Jones-Drew isn't the only player struggling on the offensive side of the Jaguars. Jacksonville's offense is averaging a league-worst 241.2 yards per game and 13.0 points per game.
The struggling Jaguars offense is a welcomed sight by a Raiders defense that has struggled much of the season but played hard last week.
With both starting cornerbacks still out to injury, Michael Huff has been forced to sub in at corner and showed solid instincts last week and came away with his first interception of the year. Huff has played solely safety in his seven-year career.
Oakland will look to pressure young quarterback Blaine Gabbert in hopes of either recording a sack or forcing a bad decision.
Allen and the Raiders will need to cut down on the penalties to come away with a win against the Jaguars. Oakland reverted back to their ways from last season as they committed 12 penalties against the Falcons last week.
A win on Sunday against the Jaguars will help put the Raiders back into the race for the AFC West Division.