East Coast – West Coast. 2 Hard Nose Coaches. 2 Teams that Like to Run. 2 Teams that not a soul thought their matchup in Week 14 would mean anything. Yet, here they are in what is a must win for both teams. The Jaguars, to keep 1 game lead heading into their game against the Colts next week. The Raiders, to keep pace with the Chiefs in their attempt to make the week 17 game for the AFC West Division. Let’s preview how the Raiders come out on top…
Defeat the East Coast Bias
The Raiders have not traveled well, especially heading to the East Coast. Heck, they have not won a game outside the AFC/NFC West and hardly were competitive in those games. Tom Cable knows this as this week he has changed their schedule to get them ready to play on East Coast time. The tell-tale will be quick, if at halftime they are leading or down by only 1 TD, the Raiders will have the momentum needed to win this game.
Win the Line Battles
The Raiders dominated the line last week, running through the Chargers and absolutely stifling the Chargers running game. The Raiders, while it would be great for them to dominate the line again, just need to win that battle. The Jaguars will try to run also, and they will make it a point to stop the Raiders running game. The Raiders need to run 30 times to make the game their style.
Sounds funny, huh? Why not contain MJD as a focus? The Jaguars wins have come when David Garrard has been effective, and more specifically when he gets out of the pocket he gains yards in large bunches and scores TD’s. The Raiders front 4 needs to effectively pressure Garrard without leaving lanes for Garrard to scramble for yards.
Hit 2 Big Plays
Jacoby Ford, DHB, Louis Murphy, Zach Miller, Marcel Reese, DMC…this is a lot of talent that the Raiders can bring to the table that Jaguars can matchup with their defense. Specifically, the man they traded away last year, Kirk Morrison, is prone for giving up big plays and as a whole the Jaguars are the 2nd worse team in giving up 40 yard+ plays. The Raiders need to expose these matchups early and often and hit 2 big plays.
If this was a AFC West game, I wouldn’t even hesitate to say the Raiders are going to win. East Coast travel + non AFC/NFC West team + team that is winning in ways that people are still scratching their head = not a great feeling for a Raider fan. The Raiders will be more competitive in this road game than their other East Coast travels, and I see Garrard involved in some play towards the end of this game that will decide the outcome. Is it in Raiders favor or not?
Jaguars 23 Raiders 20