Cleveland vs. Oakland: Why the Raiders Can (and Should) Beat the Browns

After that incredibly emotional victory against the Houston Texans, the Raiders get to come home for three straight games at O.Co Coliseum. This is the time when the Raiders will determine if they are a playoff team or not. At 3-2, they have an opportunity to beat a trio of subpar opponents (combined 5-9 record) and go to 6-2, which would be their best start in a decade—even better than their 2002 Super Bowl year, when they were 4-4 at the halfway point of the season.

The Browns are not an awful team, but they are definitely beatable. A playoff team in 2011 beats the Cleveland Browns at home—so if the Raiders want to be playing January football, they’d better be miserable hosts to Colt McCoy and the boys. Let’s break down how they can do it.


Pound the Rock

At 2-2, the Browns have one of the league’s best pass defenses (fourth) but one of its worst rush defenses (25th). Good thing we have this guy named Darren McFadden on the roster; perhaps you’ve heard of him? I think he might be pretty good.

The Raiders love to run the ball, and McFadden is as dynamic a running back as you’ll find in the NFL. He had a tough game against the Texans, but their defense is athletic and swarms the ball. McFadden should have a considerably easier afternoon against the Browns.

The Raiders have run the ball effectively in every game this season, averaging 172 rushing yards per game in their three wins and 145 rushing yards per game in their two losses. The real story, however, lies with McFadden because many of those rushing yards have come from reverses and trick plays.

When McFadden himself has a good game, the Raiders win. Compare his average numbers in wins (124 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry) with his averages in losses (73.5 rushing yards, 4.3 yards per carry).

The Raiders have to give their stud the ball early and often. If M...

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