The Oakland Raiders travel to the east coast to take on the Carolina Panthers this Sunday. Oakland is coming off a shutout win against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Panthers have won three out of four and two straight.
During the win last week, Oakland ran the ball for a season high 203 yards. That is the game plan they want to execute for the rest of the season. The Panthers run defense is ranked 17th in the NFL allowing 117.9 yards per game. The Raiders will use a heavy dose of running back Darren McFadden and back-up Mike Goodson, who is returning to Carolina to play his former team. He was trade to Oakland this offseason. He received the game ball last week rushing for 89 yards on 13 carries.
Third string quarterback Terrelle Pryor is expected to see a little more action this week as the Raiders try to build for the 2013 campaign. Pryor was active the last three weeks, but only saw one series on the field. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp wants to see if he can work Pryor into the game on third and short situations or redzone packages. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer will still see most of the playing time. The Raiders feel he gives them the best chance to win. Palmer is just 13 yards away from passing for 4,000 on the season. He has had some shining moments this season, but is plagued by turnovers.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders focus will be on containing quarterback Cam Newton. The former first overall pick presents a challenge because of his dual threat abilities. He leads the Panthers in passing and rushing yards this season and has eight touchdowns to zero interceptions in his last five games. Linebackers Omar Gaither, Philip Wheeler, and Miles Burris will have to pursue Newton as he keeps plays alive with his legs.
One area the Panthers have struggled this season is in pass protection, allowing 33 sacks. The Raiders have also struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but will must in order to get the second year quarterback out of rhythm. Lamaar Houston has been the bright spot on the Raiders front four with his constant motor and hustle plays. He could be the player to create problems for Carolina. For the sixth straight game, defensive tackle Richard Seymour will be out, still dealing with a hamstring injury.
The Raiders secondary will need to play a discipline game. Newton's scrambling ability will keep them on their toes. They cannot lose sight of receivers. Phillip Adams should make his second career start after leaving last week with a concussion. He and Michael Huff will be tasked with slowing down wide receiver Steve Smith, who has been targeted 121 times this year and has 1,056 receiving yards.
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