It has been an extremely eventful week for the Oakland Raiders. First the team discussed the possibility of incorporating quarterback Terrelle Pryor into the line-up to see what he can do. Next, middle linebacker Rolando McClain was asked not to come to practice and suspended two games including this week. On Sunday, the Raiders will look to put all these issues aside and focus on the Browns.
Both teams enter the game with 3-8 records. Neither team has played well this season and is starved for a win. Last week, Cleveland was able to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-14. Oakland has lost four straight games all by double digits.
The Raiders are looking forward to getting running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson back on the field after both missed the last three games with high ankle sprains. They are listed as questionable and will be game time decisions. In their absence, fullback Marcel Reece has shouldered the load at running back with nice production. Even if both play, Reece will still be featured in the offense. He has gained over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards in each of his starts. The Browns run defense is ranked 19th in the NFL, allowing 118.4 yards per game.
As for the passing game, Carson Palmer will again be asked to carry the offensive game plan. Palmer has already attempted 449 passes in 11 games, mostly because the Raiders continuously put themselves in early deficits and are forced to play catch up the rest of the game. Oakland will also look to give Pryor some opportunities to take snaps at quarterback. He has only played one snap in his two year NFL career, but will be active Sunday as the third quarterback. The Raiders have a set of plays for Pryor if he sees the field. Cleveland has a pair of solid cornerbacks in Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown. They also have been able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks with 28 sacks this season. Their passing defense is ranked 21st in the league allowing 243.7 yards per game.
Defensively, the Raiders have been a mess for most of the year. This week they will focus on stopping rookie first round pick Trent Richardson. Last time Oakland faced a rookie running back, Tampa Bay's Doug Martin ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Richardson enters the game with 755 yards and six touchdowns. He is also a reliable receiving back with 41 receptions. Without McClain the Raiders will start Omar Gaither at middle linebacker and he will have to set the standard stopping Richardson. Miles Burris and Philip Wheeler will also be relied upon to fly around the field, locate Richardson and make key stops.
Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden suffered a concussion last week, but will start against the Raiders. The Browns passing attack is 23rd in the NFL averaging just 211.5 yards per game. Weeden has 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the season. The Raiders must be able to force turnovers against the Browns. For the season, Oakland has only intercepted six passes. Michael Huff will need to capitalize on his opportunities because he has had a few chances and teams have been throwing at him because he is playing out of position. The Browns don't boost a number one receiver, but rookie Josh Gordon leads the team with 530 yards and four scores.
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