The Oakland Raiders really need to beat the Vikings.
That’s the bottom line.
They showed a lot in last week’s victory over the Chargers, but San Diego is a team in decline.
Minnesota’s record is terrible, and if the Raiders lose to them, it will be more than deflating.
Jared Allen concerns me. He got to Aaron Rodgers a few times during the Vikes’ loss last Sunday to Green Bay, and that told me more than the score.
We haven’t seen Carson Palmer get hit yet, and I don’t want to. The Vikings have an awful secondary that Palmer could very well light up for more than 300 yards. Denarius Moore’s coming out party could continue this week.
But the real onus in this game is on the Raiders’ run defense.
Aaron Curry needs to make Hue Jackson look like a genius. Richard Seymour needs to earn his keep and stay the hell away from Adrian Peterson’s facemask. And Tommy Kelly needs to be Tommy Kelly.
The Pack held Peterson to less than 60 yards, and that may have been because the Vikings found themselves in a lot of passing situations.
That probably won’t be the case against the Raiders.
This is a team that let Patriots rookie Stevan Ridley rack up 97 yards on 10 carries … and Tim Tebow run roughshod, which they really should have seen coming.
They have the personnel to limit the damage Peterson can dish out, but will it happen?
If the Raiders can limit the damage done by Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson, and not kill themselves with penalties, they’ll win by three scores.
If they lose, those three things will be the poison in the vial.
Allen leads the league with 13.5 sacks, and the Raiders have only allowed 11 all season, so it’s an interesting matchup. Left tackle Jared Veldheer hasn’t allowed a sack all season, but it’s hard to imagine a game where Allen doesn’t make his presence felt.
I’m also curious to see how Palmer will handle the pressure emotionally. Will he get flustered by the pressure, or will he dink and dump over the middle and burn a Vikings secondary that isn’t very good, and got worse after Antoine Winfield was lost for the season after an injury last week.
The Raiders are still without Darren McFadden, and Jacoby Ford won’t be playing. But this could be an opportunity for Darius Heyward-Bey to get out of Hue Jackson’s doghouse.
The biggest challenge for the Raiders will be limiting the penalties and not giving the Vikings any help staying on the field.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION:
The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer in Bakersfield, as a former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB and now producing a local morning news show. He and BASG played on the same Babe Ruth baseball team as 13-year-olds, and Francis still talks about that time he struck out the side in his only pitching appearance of the season. He’s also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Twins, a strange pairing of teams that’s never been fully explained.