Not terribly, if the statistics are any reliable guide. Yes, it's early in the season, so these numbers aren't all that meaningful. But they at least give us reason to hope. Here they are:
- Meanwhile, believe it or not, we are fourth in the league in terms of average passing yards allowed. But here's the catch: teams haven't tried passing on us much. We've seen the third-fewest passing attempts per game in the league. And when opponents do pass, they've been successful – we are 25th in passing yards per completion and a somewhat better 15th in yards per attempt.
- Will the Raiders pass on us much? Well, they're averaging 31.2 attempts per game, for 28th-fewest in the league. But when they do pass, they tend to gain more yards than most: they are averaging 7 yards per attempt, for 14th in the league (they are also 14th in average yards per completion). Based on this, I would expect the Raiders to pass selectively and tend to go long, testing our somewhat suspect secondary. Let's hope Joe Haden is healthy enough to play this week.
- Against the rush, we are a pitiful 25th in total yards allowed at 124.5. Yet teams have rushed against us much more often than they've passed (an average of 31.5 times per game, the fourth-most in the league). Surprisingly perhaps, we are 13th in average rush yards allowed per carry at 4.0.
- So will the Raiders run on us much? Yes. They are fifth in the league in rush attempts per game at 30. They are also second in the league in rush yards per carry at 5.4. The obvious implication: Darius McFadden is going to get a lot of carries, and handling him will be a top priority. Interestingly, though, all of the teams Oakland has played so far except for Denver are in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt. We're the best rushing defense they've faced so far, although we're not all that great, either.
- In conclusion, I expect the Raiders to test us with the rush as their first offensive priority. They will find only moderate success here, although we won't be able to completely shut down McFadden. I also expect them to try to pick apart our secondary with long balls more than they (or other teams we have played) have in the past four games. Especially so if Haden is out. Whether we can prevent the long pass play is the big wildcard, in my mind.
- The Raiders' defense is the most porous we've faced. They've allowed 422.4 yards a game, on average, for 31st in the league.
- The Raiders have not been good against the pass. They are 29th in average passing yards allowed. They are near the bottom of the league in yards allowed per completion and 18th in yards allowed per attempt. They've racked up those stats facing a couple of very good passing attacks (New England, Houston) and two stinkers (Denver, Jets). Hence the Raiders may look vulnerable to the pass, but they haven't been burned by bad teams, and our receiving corps is far from top-flight.
- We are 17th in passing yards per game with 235.2 on average. But we're 30th in yards per attempt and 31st in yards per completion. So while the Raiders may look bad against the pass, we're pretty bad when we do pass. It's time for guys like Little and Moore to step it up. This would be a good game for them to do just that.
- The Raiders are about as good as our defense at preventing the run – i.e. not stellar. They are 22nd in rushing yards allowed and a horrid 29th in rushing yards allowed per carry, with 5.2. But they've faced some good rushing teams, including New England, Buffalo and Denver. Only Houston and the Jets are in the bottom of the league in yards per carry.
- We are 27th in average rushing yards per game, with 85.8. We are 29th in yards per carry, at 3.4. With a guy like Peyton Hillis on our roster, we should be better than this. It's time to prove it against the Raiders.
All in all, I'd expect a high-scoring game against the Raiders, but I doubt it will be a blowout. They've allowed a lot of scoring – 26.6 points, on average. They've also committed the most penalties in the league. Hopefully they'll be their own undoing, and I hope we see breakout performances from our receivers. A good day for Hillis would be a bonus.