Fresh off of Carson Palmer's first win in the silver and
black, the Raiders hit the road to Minnesota to play the Vikings. Minnesota had
the same result most teams facing the Packers have been having this year, they
got blown out against them.
The NFL odds opened even, but has moved to the Raiders giving
one point on the road.
From the couch to the quarterback
At just 31 years old, it looked like Carson Palmer's career
would be done just a month ago. Then, a season ending injury to Jason Campbell
had the Raiders calling and Palmer was on his way to Oakland to reunite with
Though it took a few games to shake the cobwebs off, Palmer
has looked good during his last two starts. Even though he threw three
interceptions last week against the Broncos (Broncos play Jets this week), it was mostly because he was
trying to bring his team back from their defensive mistakes. This week against
the Chargers, Palmer threw for nearly 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
The Oakland Raiders offense has been revitalized with Palmer. I
would argue it looks better with Palmer then it did with Campbell running the
offense. Palmer is a more accurate passer has a very strong arm. His receiving
core is a bit banged up, but he has enough weapons to put points on the board.
Even with Darren McFadden out, Michael Bush has been more than capable and
McFadden might make his return this week in Minnesota but it is still up in the
Even though everyone struggles against the Packers, there is
no reason that the Vikings only lost by six in their first meeting and 38 in
their second. They have lost three of their last four and have given up an
average of 39 points in those losses.
Their strength on defense was being able to stop the run.
They are 6th in the league in rushing yards allowed, but in their
last four games, they have given up 120 yards rushing per game, well over their
season average. This isn't good news, because they are much worse at stopping
the pass. Now that Palmer is playing well and the Raiders are running well, it
spells bad news for the Vikings.
For Christian Ponder, his game against the Packers on Monday
night was not good, but not bad. Ponder was asked to do the impossible; trade
blow for blow with Aaron Rodgers. Trying to keep up with the Packer's offense
is like trying to win the lottery; it's one in a million.
The Sharp pick
This game started as an even pick em', but the public just
watched the Vikings get blown out, so the line has moved. Though I do see this
game as being close, the Raiders have been the road warriors of the NFL this
year. They are 3-1 on the road this year and 4-0 ATS on the road.
The Vikings will try to once again rely heavily on Adrian
Peterson, but teams have figured out that with Ponder under center, stacking
the box against AP and making the rookie try to beat them is a formula for
success. With Palmer playing well and spreading the ball around well, the
Vikings secondary will have problems slowing down all of them. Even if McFadden
and Jacoby Ford don't play, the Raiders still have enough offense to get a lead
and keep AP in check. I expect a ground game plan from both teams. The Minnesota Vikings
don't have the consistent quarterback play just yet, nor the receivers to throw
and convert when needed like the Raiders do.
My Pick: Take the Raiders -1