Oakland Raiders (4-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
SERIES HISTORY: 8th meeting, Jaguars lead all-time series 4-3, with the Raiders winning the last meeting on Sept. 15, 2013, 19-9 at the Coliseum. Terrelle Pryor passed for 126 yards and the Raiders rushed for 226 yards, including 229 by Darren McFadden. In their last game at Jacksonville and then-coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders lost 38-31 after holding a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Raiders are smarting on both sides of the ball after a home loss to the Chiefs and will look to re-assert a running game especially if Latavius Murray has recovered from turf toe. From there, they WILL trust QB Derek Carr against the Jacksonville secondary, watching closely to see who is matched up on Amari Cooper and if Jalen Ramsey will get him one-on-one.
Actually both teams should have the same goal: Run the ball and stay away from the costly penalties.
Every week the Jaguars talk about how important it is to have a stout running game complement the passing attack. But four of the five weeks talk is all it was. Only in the Indianapolis game when they rushed for 136yards did the Jaguars rushed for more than 60 yards in a game. If they can't gain yardage on the ground against a porous Oakland defense that ranks third from last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed AND rushing yards per attempt, the Jaguars may not be able to run the ball on any team this year.
The Raiders rank last in total yards allowed per game yards per play heading into Week 7 of the NFL schedule. Jacksonville will make every attempt to have T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory be integral parts of the offensive game plan for Sunday.
Both teams rank among the most-penalized teams in the NFL this year. Whoever can avoid the major penalties (i.e. pass interference, personal fouls, etc.) will have the best chance of willing this game
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Raiders WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree vs. Jaguars secondary. The Raiders have not had much success in running the ball which means a large portion of the offense will need to come from Cooper and Crabtree. Cooper, in just his second year in the league, is having an outstanding season and is second in the AFC with 585 yards, just 21 behind Cincinnati's A.J. Green. A year ago Cooper and Crabtree combined for 156 receptions and eight yards shy of 2,000 receiving yards to go with 15 touchdowns. Jaguar cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey, Prince Amukamara and Aaron Colvin will alternate in covering the two elusive Raider receivers. Ramsey had a strong second half against the Bear's Alshon Jeffery last week and came up with a big fourth down stop late in the game when he knocked a pass away from Jeffery. Colvin was also solid last week in his first week of action after missing the team's first four games due to a league-imposed suspension.
--Jaguars offensive tackles Jeremy Parnell and Kelvin Beachum vs. Oakland defensive ends Khalil Mack and Denico Autry. How well the two Jaguars tackles contain the two Raiders defensive ends will likely go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. Mack is one of the elite players in the league and is the cornerstone of the defense. He's a standout run defender and one of the top edge players in the game. Autry missed the offseason following a wrist injury but has been dominant since getting back on the field. Beachum missed the team's third game this year with a concussion but has been solid when he's in the lineup in protecting Blake Bortles' blind side. Parnell has done an adequate job as well though he's been flagged for several penalties. Keeping the two Raider defenders away from Bortles and opening holes for running backs T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory could result in a Jaguars win.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Raiders TE Clive Walford. He has 15 receptions for 150 yards and appears to be recovered from a knee injury that cost him a game in Week 4. He caught a 20-yard pass to set up a field goal late in the first half against Kansas City but had only one other reception. Getting Walford the ball four or more times could loosen up things for the Raiders trio of wide receivers, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts.
INJURY REPORT: Oakland -- Doubtful: G Vadal Alexander (ankle). Questionable: G Jon Feliciano (calf), C Rodney Hudson (knee), G Gabe Jackson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), RB Latavius Marray (toe), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder), T Menelik Watson (calf). Jacksonville -- Questionable: T Kelvin Beachum (knee), DE Jared Odrick (hip), TE Neal Sterling (foot), TE Julius Thomas (ankle).
FAST FACTS: Raiders QB Derek Carr threw one TD last week, his 12th consecutive game with a scoring toss. That streak is tied for the fourth longest by a Raider all-time, and is the longest since Rich Gannon had a 19-game streak spanning the 2001 and 2002 seasons. The only two players with a longer active such streak are Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers, who have each thrown a touchdown pass in 14 straight games in which they played. ... Jags QB Blake Bortles put together a 4-play 78-yard drive with the Jaguars down, 16-10, with less than five minutes left to play at Chicago last week, hitting Arrelious Benn on a 51-yard score for a 17-16 lead and, eventually, the win. That was Bortles' sixth game winning drive of his career but only his second on the road.
PREDICTION: The term "home" is problematic for both the Raiders' franchise, which may move to Las Vegas, and on the field, where their most recent loss was against long-time AFC-West foe Kansas City last week. But these Raiders are hot on the road and if they regain a running game it should help keep their generous defense on the sideline.
OUR PICK: Raiders, 35-21.