Browns get back in action against the emotional Raiders
The Raiders, on a more limited scale, are what the Detroit Lions are this year: a surprise team. And after losing owner Al Davis last week and then going into Houston and winning in a hostile environment against the Texans, it is safe to say that the 2-2 Browns have their hands full this week.
Oakland has thus far won the "odd" games and have lost the "even" ones, winning in Weeks 1, 3 and 5 and losing in Weeks 2 and 4. Not necessarily an omen there, but with that being said, at least there is that tiniest psychological advantage this week for Cleveland.
The Raiders are 1-1 at home, after facing two tough, tough opponents at the Coliseum, beating the Jets and losing to the Patriots. Sunday's contest marks the first of three straight home affairs for the Raiders, sandwiched around their bye, and in second place in the AFC West but only a game behind the Chargers, Oakland will be looking to make a move before they finally head back out on the road in November.
Cleveland is in last place in the AFC North, but in fairness have the same amount of losses as both the Steelers and the Bengals, but one less win, due to the fact that the Browns have had their bye and Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have not. The Browns trail the Ravens by a full game in the divisional race.
Oakland features Jason Campbell at quarterback. Campbell is off to a good start in 2011, having thrown for 1118 yards in five games with six TDs and four picks. Campbell has completed over 60% of his passes this season.
Darren McFadden is by far the leading rusher for the Raiders, with 519 yards already on the ground on 91 carries. That translates to 5.7 yards per carry, and with three rushing touchdowns and one receiving score, McFadden is a weapon that must be focused on.
McFadden also leads Oakland in catches with 17 for 149 yards, but when the Raiders want to spread it out a bit they have so far gone to Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore, who between them have 28 receptions for 462 yards and three scores.
Oakland's momentum from the emotion of Davis's death is not to be overlooked or taken lightly. The Raiders could have folded the tent in Houston on Sunday after falling behind, but they held it together and won going away. This will be a real test for the Browns. And with Oakland -- which went 8-8 in 2010 -- not having had a winning season since going 11-5 in 202, their fans might be smelling blood and a chance to climb two games over .500. Certainly after almost a decade of losing, Oakland's fans will be a 12th man on the field as they see a chance to return to the glory days of the past.
After Sunday's game the Browns come home on the 23rd to take on the Seattle Seahawks. A win in Oakland would go a long, long way toward erasing the defeat of the last game before the bye, when the Browns were humbled by the Tennessee Titans.