This week the Raiders travel to Miami to face the 3-8 Dolphins. Both teams have been hot of late with the Raiders winning three in a row and the Dolphins winning three of their last four games. The Dolphins seem to have found ways to win lately after starting the season 0-7.
Underdog to the rescue
The Raiders are currently in first in the AFC West while the 3-8 Dolphins are in last place in the AFC East. Yet the Dolphins are the favorite to win.
There are a few factors playing into this odd logic. First reason is the Raiders are first in a bad division. The Chiefs and Chargers have been reeling of late while the mysterious Denver Tebows are surging. This has the rest of the sports world under the impression that the Raiders are posers riding a weak division to a good record. Second reason, and by the same token, the Dolphins are seen as being in a good division. The Bills were surprisingly good early in the season despite falling lately, the Jets will continue to be overrated until further notice, and the Patriots are the Patriots.
The final reason is the play of the Dolphins' defense. They lost to the Cowboys last week but during the preceding three game win streak, they hadn't allowed an offensive touchdown. The Raiders had a lot of problems last week with the Bears defense and didn't score a touchdown until late in the game. The Dolphins defense is seen in much the same light. The difference is while the Bears' new starter Caleb Hanie was throwing interceptions, Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore is expected to take much better care of the football.
Keep in mind, this isn't an opinion coming from NFL analysts or anything like that. Although there are likely a few of them who picked the Dolphins to win this game as well. This is the Vegas odds which is decided by people putting money on the game. This means it is regular people, or those that bet on games anyway, who think the Dolphins are a stronger team. We'll see if that is literally "where the smart money is on" when these two hot teams square off.
Ro sham bo
Rolando McClain is in line for a suspension either by the Raiders, the NFL, or both for his actions last Wednesday in which he allegedly assaulted a man, put a gun to his head, and squeezed off a round right by his head. Hue Jackson said he would not delve too much into his decision making until he spoke to McClain but after this incident, I would be surprised if he plays in this game.
With McClain out of the game, the Raiders turn to Darryl Blackstock at middle linebacker. With as many issues as McClain has had, Blackstock has been far less effective. There is also the chance that Aaron Curry could take over in the middle. However, Curry has never really been known for his football intelligence so that could be an even worse scenario.
Either way, the Raiders will suffer for not being at full strength in the linebacking corps. They have no legitimate backup middle linebacker on the squad. The closest they have is Jeremy Leman who is on the practice squad. It is far too late in the week to consider calling up Leman to play the most important position on the defense.
There are no good options. While we talk about how a middle linebacker must have a high football IQ, it seems unlikely McClain possesses that either because he sure doesn't possess much in the way of common sense. This will cost McClain a lot of money and perhaps eventually his job. But for now it is costing his team the most.
Moore or less
Denarius Moore has been Carson Palmer's best option among the receivers on this team. Denarius is his favorite target and last week Palmer often struggled to find an open man without the rookie receiver in the lineup.
It was thought that Moore was the most likely of the injured players to return this week. He is one of many of the fastest Raider players who were out last week with injury. The other speedsters were Jacoby Ford, Darren McFadden, and Taiwan Jones. The Raiders have a lot of world class speed on their squad. As of right now the only one of them who is certain to be on the field is Darrius Heyward-Bey. But DHB doesn't offer the same threat in the receiving game for which Denarius has become known.
Denarius has been ruled out for Sunday's game after not practicing all this week. With the Dolphins defense as solid as it is, the Raiders need as many mismatches as they can get. Denarius is probably the most important of all because of the trust Palmer places in him.
Without Denarius in the game this week, we could see more dead end drives ending in field goals. But without a great number of turnovers, don't expect those field goal chances to come anywhere near as often. The Raiders will need a lot more production from DHB, Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and TJ Houshmandzadeh to make up for Moore, and Jacoby Ford's absence. Otherwise it could be a very long day.
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Why are we so sure McClain is out for this game? McClain claims to be innocent. I don't know if that is true or not. However, this will not be sorted out by this weekend. Judging by what has happened in the past, I think the league will wait until the legal process plays itself out before it does anything. It is quite possible this will not be resolved before the end of the season.
The only reason why McClain would not play this weekend if he is healthy enough to play is if Jackson decides to hold him out. It is already to late for the league to suspend him, and as I said above, I don't think they will rule on it before the end of the season. If Jackson is really set on doing what is best for the team, he may just play him.
Don't get me wrong, I am pissed at McClain for allowing himself to be in this situation. At the same time, I am hoping it does not affect his playing time this season. After all of these years I am starving for a successful season.
DHB really needs to pick his game up in the red zone. His TD production is dismal, and without Denarius Moore, the touchdown strikes will be harder for Palmer to deliver, though Chaz Schilens has shown he can make plays in the end zone...
If the Raiders do lose McClain on Sunday due to suspension, then Miami will have a legitimate chance. I am still betting on the Raiders to win this game, but McClain's foolish antics have definitely made life tougher for the Raiders than needs to be...
His actions outside the field has nothing to do with Death Ros football intelligence!! There is a reason we do worse when he is out, because he truly knows the game of football and knows how to get people in position!!
We don't know excactly what happened that night, what have been said, done or who did it, so it ispremature and uncalled for to equal this situation to him being stupid on and off the field!
There is no denying that he let himself be put in a bad situation which is a very bad move from a supposed leader on a team, and if he doesn't learn it might become a serious problem to this organization! But Cartwright said that he and the other leaders on the team would straighten him out - as will the organization! This will be a wakeup call no matter what degree of guilt Death Ro is guilty of, and then we can only hope he realizes what he has in time for him to avoid getting in another situation like this!
If he truly did what the victim says he did, then my guess is that one of his friends will take the rep and McClain will be dealt with internally in the organization - and if he really did what he is accused of, without any mitigating details to the story, then he is definately not a leader and a very bad influence who will not stay on this team unless he changes dramatically! But until it is known what actually happened and what the circumstances were, the only evident stupid thing he has done was getting himself in a bad situation and smiling to the camera like some proud hoodlum!
@Jososi The NFL and Roger Goodell have acted before the legal process was complete plenty of times in the past and I would expect similar action in this instance.
3-4 requires extra LBs and we are pretty short on depth at LB esp with McClain out. If we were going to play some 3-4 I think we would have played more of it by now when McClain was healthy.
I do expect to see some different looks though as Blackstock cannot be relied upon. Maybe Curry playing MLB with Scott playing on the outside. Or even some packages with Mitchell playing a third safety / MLB type of position and 2 OLBs.
Stupid is as stupid does ... on or off the job. The dumbest thing an employed man can do off the job is endanger his job. The dumbest thing a team mate can do off the field is hurt his team. You're
"ON-THE-FIELD" IQ starts with knowing your value as a team mate ...not the ins and out of your sport.
Well, they afforded Rothlesburger the opportunity for the legal process to play out before doing anything. I also remember an issue with Janikowski that got swept under the rug because the DA did not follow through.
Remember Favre and the sexual harrassment allegations. Goodell clearly waited until the end of the season so Favre could retire so that he would not have to deal with it.
I would think that if this man is vehemently protesting his innocense, they just might wait to see what evidence comes to light. I just read an article by a guy who is actually sticking up for McClain, saying the allegations made by the victim just don't add up. I am not saying I agree, but it seems to me there has not been any real evidence presented so far. I would think the league would at least wait for that.
@SnBsn69 * Just saying wait until it is known what actually happens before you judge the man! We will know soon enough!
@SnBsn69 And this is the first incident that has had any influence on his team - before the investigation allows for information on what actually happened and on what background, doesn't he deserve the benefit of the doubt? Most players has put themselves in dumb situations from time to time, and if it turns out he was in fact not the aggressor, and he learns from it, is it then not acceptable?